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Top Race Discrimination Lawyer Response: What Is Reverse Discrimination?

| Apr 9, 2014 | Race Discrimination, Wrongful Termination |

Best Race Discrimination Attorney Answer: Can I be discriminated against for being White? How do I prove reverse race discrimination? Was I wrongfully terminated based on my race? How do I find a race discrimination law firm?

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Our employment discrimination lawyers are often asked if the law protects reverse race discrimination. The truth of the matter is that neither Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Ohio’s R.C. § 4112.99 even mention, let alone define the term “reverse discrimination.” In fact, these statutes do not even mention a particular race that is protected. These federal and state laws prohibit discrimination against any race, any religion, any national origin, and both genders equally.

To state a claim based on reverse race discrimination, the plaintiff must still establish a prima facie case of discrimination under the McDonnell Douglas framework. Under McDonnell Douglas, an employee must show that: (1) he or she is a member of a protected class; (2) he or she is qualified for the position; (3) he or she suffered an adverse employment action; and (4) either non-members of that employee’s class were treated more favorably than the employee, or the circumstances give rise to an inference of discrimination. Sarullo v. United States Postal Service, 352 F.3d 789, 797 (3d Cir. 2003). In the context of so-called “reverse discrimination,” this set of requirements is altered to take into account the fact that the employee is not a member of a minority class. While the several federal circuit courts require the employee to demonstrate that “background circumstances support the suspicion that the defendant is that unusual employer who discriminates against the majority,” others use a different test. For example, the Third Circuit held that “a plaintiff who brings a ‘reverse discrimination’ suit under Title VII should be able to establish a prima facie case in the absence of direct evidence of discrimination by presenting sufficient evidence to allow a reasonable fact finder to conclude (given the totality of the circumstances) that the defendant treated plaintiff ‘less favorably than others because of [his or her] race, color, religion, sex or national origin.’“ Iadimarco v. Runyon, 190 F.3d 151, 163 (quoting Furnco Constr. Corp. v. Waters, 438 U.S. 567, 577, 98 S. Ct. 2943, 57 L. Ed. 2d 957 (1978). Under this test, the employee is not required to present direct evidence, but only enough evidence to create an inference of discrimination. Pivirotto v. Innovative Systems, Inc., 191 F.3d 344, 352 (3d Cir. 1999).

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So, let’s turn to an example of how these reverse race discrimination cases work. Mark Hilliker Jr. was a White employee under a Black supervisor at Hurley Medical Center, which is north of Detroit, Michigan. As plead in Hilliker’s lawsuit, the supervisor made derogatory racial remarks against him starting in 2007. Hillaker, an environmental technician claims that the supervisor called him “stupid white boy,” and also told other Black hospital employees, “Don’t do that, I will get my white boy to do it.” The race discrimination lawsuit also avers that the supervisor threatened Hillaker with unjustified disciplined and physical violence. In response, Hillaker notified the hospital’s upper management of the racial mistreatment, the harassment continued.

At a hearing, the hospital’s lawyer argued that Hillaker did not report the issue before December 2012 and said that his complaints were merely a fascination of a discontented employee. But, a statement from a co-worker, and other hospital documents, provided evidence that the hospital was aware of the issue. The court allowed the case to move forward to trial. With the risk of a jury trial looming, Hurley recognized the risk and agreed to settle all claims for $200,000.

As a side note, those regular readers of our blogs might recall that Hurley Medical Center is the same employer that got sued for race discrimination and settled for taking a Black nurse off a patient’s care because of his racial bias. So essentially, this hospital appears to have allowed racially discriminatory fiefdoms to grow and flourish.

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 a race discrimination lawyer from The Spitz Law Firm who will help you determine the best way to pursue your legal claims.

Disclaimer:

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.