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Ohio Race Discrimination Best Answer: Can my boss make hiring decisions based on the perceived racial preferences of customers? Should my job honor customer requests not to have African American delivery drivers go to their homes? Is it still race discrimination if my boss doesn’t hate Blacks but gives into customer’s racial bias in order to make a sale?

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Most employees and even most employer are aware that the federal Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Ohio Fair Employment Practice Act make it illegal for employers to discriminate or harass employees on the basis of their race/color, religion, sex /gender, or national origin. There are no exceptions listed in either Title VII or Ohio’s Fair Employment Practice Act that excuse an employer’s discrimination because a customer wants to be served by a person of a particular race, gender or national origin. Nonetheless, there are way too many managers, bosses, and supervisors out there that think customer service or making the sale somehow trumps employment discrimination laws. They don’t.

Our employment discrimination attorneys have repeatedly blogged that customer preferences cannot be used to justifying treating employees differently based on their race, gender or national origin. (See Race Discrimination: Customers Are Not Always Right; Retaliation: Now That’s A Lot Of Waffles! Don’t Blame The Customers.; Race Discrimination Lawyer’s Best Answer: Can My Job Discriminate Based On Customer Requests?; and Race Discrimination: Customers Are Not Always Right (Part III)).

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The law that actions taken by an employer based on race, gender or national origin is a violation of the employment discrimination laws and cannot be excused by blaming third party preferences. For example, in Johnson v. Zema Sys. Corp., the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that a company cannot maintain a segregated sales force to meet the preferences of different sales markets. Likewise, in Ferrill v. The Parker Group, Inc., the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit expressly rejected the notion that race discrimination claims could be defended by arguing that the manger or supervisor had no personal racial animus – the he or she was not personally prejudice:

TPG has admitted that the 1994 assignments of “get-out-the-vote” calls and scripts were made on the basis of race and that TPG employees were segregated on the basis of race. TPG’s admission is direct evidence of disparate treatment on the basis of race and sustains Ferrill’s prima facie case. … Implicit in the District Court’s finding is the notion that racial animus and intent to discriminate are not synonymous. In its Memorandum Opinion, the District Court stated that there is “no evidence” that TPG acted with any racial animus. The crucial issue then is whether a defendant who acts with no racial animus but makes job assignments on the basis of race can be held liable for intentional discrimination …. Clearly, the answer is yes.

With this in mind, our employment discrimination lawyers turn to the racial discrimination news from the recent events at the Lowe’s Home Improvement in Danville, Va. You see, Marcus Bradley, a delivery driver at Lowe’s for the last 11 years with no history of problems went to work like every other day. He and his partner got their loading instructions, packed the truck, and took off to do their work. As they were driving, a manager called and told them to come back with the merchandise. Why? Because, the customer didn’t want any of those Black folks in her house.

Given this reason, Bradley objected and said that was racist and racial discrimination. The manager still did not back down. Bradley’s partner said that we would not go out with another White worker to support Bradley and oppose this racial discrimination. The manager still sent the merchandise out with an all White delivery team.

Bradley waited for the company that he had dedicated over a decade working for to stand up and support him. Nothing happened. So, he went to the news. At that point, Lowe’s jumped in and fired the manager and proclaimed, we do not tolerate this type of discrimination! Oh, yeah? Then why is the sales person that accepted those terms still employed?

According to the Washington Post, the racist customer adamantly defended her actions, saying “I got a right to have whatever I want and that’s it… No, I don’t feel bad about nothing.” Given her butchery of the English language, this woman obviously is not a very bright individual. And, while she may have a “right” to want something; Lowe’s had an obligation to tell her no.

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 Spitz, The Employee’s 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 Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, attorney Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.

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