Best Ohio Race Discrimination Attorney Reply: What should I do if my boss gives into the racial preferences of customers? Can my job assign only White sales representatives to work with racist clients? Is my company required to do anything about customers using the “n-word”?
It is very clear under Ohio (R.C. § 4112.02) and federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) an employer cannot discriminate against an employee because of his or her race. But what if the employer is engaged in sales or a service industry where clients may harbor racially discriminatory preferences? What if an employer receives a request to only provide employees of a certain race to provide customer service to their accounts? Can catering to a client’s preference leave an employer liable for racial discrimination even if they themselves are not racist? Employers in the sales and service industry are solely dependent upon making that next sale or providing customers with the quality of service they pay for. What happens when an employer looks out for their bottom line by catering to a client’s racial biases?
As our race discrimination lawyers have discussed previously, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits “discrimination against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Conditions under the statute have been interpreted by courts to encompass all conditions of employment – whether it is an employer who sends out white sales representatives at the request of a business client or a patient in a nursing home who refuses care from a black certified nursing assistant (“CNA”).
In Chaney v. Plainfield Healthcare Center, the health care provider, a nursing home, received a request from a patient that no black nursing assistants could enter into the resident’s room. In fact, the nursing home had, upon admitting the patients, allowed them to voice preferences in who provided their care, including racial preferences for CNAs. The employer, in an effort to please a particularly insistent patient, placed a “no blacks” sign on the resident’s room and instructed its employees to refrain from assigning blacks to care for the resident. Chaney, a black nursing assistant, was required to stay away from residents who requested white CNAs for their care. Chaney had noticed the same patient who requested no black CNAs fall in the hallway, but she could not assist because her employer told her she was prohibited from doing so because of her race. Chaney’s co-workers took a cue from their clients and began to engage in racially discriminatory conduct themselves. Co-workers mocked black employees and continuously pointed out to them how they could not provide patient care to racially discriminatory residents. Chaney was only employed for three months, but in that time span she was called a “black bitch” a “nigger” and was continuously shunned by residents who did not want a black CNA.
In its decision, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held Plainfield liable for racial discrimination by acceding to the preferences of the residents and consequentially creating a hostile work environment based on racial discrimination. The employer’s desire to satisfy its resident’s racial preferences directly led to the creation of a workplace environment permeated with racial discrimination.
Specifically, the Seventh Circuit held that “It is now widely accepted that a company’s desire to cater to the perceived racial preferences of its customers is not a defense under Title VII for treating employees differently based on race.” Stated more simply, clients, customers or patrons cannot dictate policy when it comes to race. If they don’t like the fact that the employee that is helping them is Black, their only choice is to leave or stop doing business with your company. And, your company cannot give in to the racial demands to keep the business. In fact, you job, your boss, or your manager has to take steps to stop or prevent racially hostile treatment from those customers.
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.
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