Top Answers By Race Discrimination Attorneys: What should I do if a customer is being racist? Can I be transferred because a client does not want to work with “colored” people? Should my job give into the racist demands of its patrons?
We’ve have all heard that retail mantra: “The customer is always right!” But, the truth is that employers cannot allow customers, patrons or clients to dictate racist or otherwise unlawful discriminatory practices. The law is very clear that a company’s desire to give into to the racial preferences of its customers is not a defense under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
for treating employees differently based on race. See, e.g., Johnson v. Zema Sys. Corp., 170 F.3d 734, 744 (7th Cir.1999) (evidence of segregated sales force to meet perceived cliental preferences supported Title VII claim); Ferrill v. The Parker Group, Inc., 168 F.3d 468, 477 (11th Cir.1999) (employer’s practice of assigning “get-out-the-vote” phone calls based on race violated Title VII); see also Fernandez v. Wynn Oil Co., 653 F.2d 1273, 1276-77 (9th Cir. 1981) (rejecting customer preference defense in sex discrimination context and relying on EEOC holding that Title VII does not permit the accommodation of the racially discriminatory policies of foreign nations). In fact, our employment discrimination lawyers blogged about unlawful race discrimination when the Waffle House gave into racist patrons. We also blogged about Tonya Battle, a black nurse, that sued and settled with Hurley Medical Center, when gave into the swastika wearing patient that did not want to be treated by black people. (I was going to call the guy a racist swastika wearing patient, but realized that it was a redundancy.)
You would think that employers would catch on. But, they do not.
Just this last week, another nursing home was just busted and settled because it gave into the racist and discriminatory preferences of a resident. The facts of this race discrimination case lays out like this: the Betsy Ross Nursing and Rehabilitation Center “accommodated the racially discriminatory preferences of a patient who did not want to be seen or treated by African-American nurses.” Instead of saying, “Hey, I am truly sorry Mr. Resident, it is unlawful and we will not and cannot discriminate based on race,” the Betsy Ross nursing home chose to reassign all African-American nurses to another unit of the facility. To make certain that there was no confusion, the boss barred African-American employees from working in the unit in question, and posted a sign that said “No Colored Nurses” on the door to the unit. Who the hell, besides racist pigs, still calls African American people “colored”? Certainly, that came from the supervisor’s own personal well of racism. But, it does not matter. The employer is liable regardless of whether it was the manager or boss that was racist or just conceding to the racist requests of the resident customer. There is no good excuse for using race as the basis for employment decisions.
While the settlement was announced, the terms of the settlement were kept confidential.
If you feel that you are being discriminated based on your race, whatever race that may be, then call the right attorney. Race discrimination includes being harassed, fired, wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, demoted, wrongfully disciplined, and denied wages. When you call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at (216) 291-4744, you will meet with an attorney from The Spitz Law Firm who will help you determine the best way to pursue your legal claims.
The materials available at the top of this race discrimination page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking: “What should I do …”, “I’m being discriminated against …”, “my boss is discriminating against me because …” or “How do I …”, your best option is to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to race discrimination questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, attorney Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.