Best Ohio Race Discrimination Attorney Answer: What can I do if my White supervisor uses the “N-word” in front of me? Can my supervisor put all the African American employees on one shift? Is it wrong for my boss to treat Black workers worse than White employees?
Using racial slurs in the workplace is completely unacceptable. When used by your manager, supervisor, or boss, or even allowed by them, such racially harassment becomes illegal. Previously, our employment discrimination attorneys blogged about Ayissi-Etoh v. Fannie Mae, et al., in which a federal appellate court held: “perhaps no single act can more quickly alter the conditions of employment” than “the use of an unambiguously racial epithet such as ‘nigger’ by a supervisor…This single incident might well have been sufficient to establish a hostile work environment.” (See Race Discrimination: Using The “N-Word,” Even Once, Can Create A Hostile Work Environment.) Similarly, our employment law lawyers have blogged about Judge Kimball holding that: “No reasonable jury could conclude that a reasonable African-American would not be offended, even in a blue collar setting, by the daily use of the word ‘nigger’ and other racial jokes/comments by white supervisors.” (See Racial Discrimination: Defendant Who Argued That The Term “Nigger” and “Monkey” Not “Slurs But, Rather, As Terms Of Endearment” Shockingly Loses, Pays Large Sum Of Money.) This behavior is unfortunately not uncommon. (See My Racist Boss Says “Nigger,” “Wetback,” “Wagon Burner,” & “Beaner” All The Time! I Need A Lawyer! and Race Discrimination: Minority Bosses Cannot Use N-Word Either)
You would think employers would learn by now and stop such blatant race discrimination and take actions to end racial harassment at work.
Recently, a jury in Denver, Colorado made news when it awarded seven warehouse workers $15 million dollars in a race discrimination case. The verdict broke down into $318,000 in back pay for workers whose hours were cut during a furlough or fired due to their race, $650,000 for emotional distress, and $14 million for punitive damages.
What is missing from the headline is just how the employees got from being harassed at work to getting an award of $15 million dollars. The Plaintiffs in this case, seven black employees, made the following allegations:
- Supervisors forced black employees to work on one side of the warehouse and white employees on the other side;
- Supervisors called the black employees “lazy stupid Africans.” Six of the seven plaintiffs were from Mali;
- Supervisors allowed white employees to regularly say “nigger” without discipline;
- One employee made the comment, “all Blacks should be shot” in the presence of his supervisor. The supervisor did not take any corrective action or disciplinary action against the employee and later the employee was even promoted;
- A manager of the facility targeted minority workers for demotion and reduction of hours by implementing a furlough, then using a bidding process to assign shifts in an effort to freeze out minority employees.
Once the employment discrimination claims were filed in court, the parties had to exchange information. This process is called discovery and it can take quite some time to complete. Part of the Plaintiffs’ claims included a difference in the treatment of black African employees compared to black employees and all black employees compared to white employees. Therefore, counsel for the employees likely had to request thousands of pages of documents including handbooks, policies on discipline, harassment, discrimination, and other policies relating to any reason given as a means to target and fire African or black employees. Other documents requested in the race discrimination law suit would likely include emails, handwritten notes, employee personnel files, documents relating to pay rates, recruiting, and the hiring process.
Once the information is exchanged, the parties will take depositions, oral testimony take under oath and recorded. In this case, the parties also engaged experts. The Plaintiffs hired an expert to review the data a make a statistical opinion. Reviewing such information to create an opinion, and likely also being deposed on his or her opinions also factored into the process.
Each side also filed numerous motions and briefs requesting the judge in the case to withhold evidence, or dismiss claims. All these events leading up to the jury verdict are similar to what a plaintiff in Ohio can expect if he or she files a claim for discrimination in the courts. Just like in Colorado, Ohio employees are protected from race discrimination based on federal and state law. As our employment discrimination lawyers have blogged about before, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Ohio Revised Code § 4112.02(A) are in place to protect employees in Ohio from being treated differently based on. Ohio laws make it an unlawful discriminatory practice for any employer to “discharge without just cause, to refuse to hire, or otherwise to discriminate against that person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, or any matter directly or indirectly related to employment” based on race.
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 866-797-6040, 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.
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.