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Best Ohio Race Discrimination Attorney Answer: Does Title VII protect against employment retaliation based on association with someone who complained to HR about being racially discriminated? Can I sue for retaliation if I’m not the one that complained about race discrimination and harassment? What type of lawyer to I need to sue my employer for racial discrimination at my job?

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At Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, our employment discrimination lawyers have dedicated ourselves to helping current and former employees who have been subjected to race or color discrimination in the workplace. Then, there are some employees that have never complained about race discrimination or racial harassment, but still find themselves being retaliated against by their boss, manager or supervisor simply because they are related to another family member that did complain.

As an employees, you are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Ohio’s R.C. § 4112.02(A) from being discriminated against or retaliated against by your bosses, managers, and supervisors on the basis of on the basis of race, color, religion, gender/sex, or national origin. Specifically, Title VII prohibits employment discriminationin hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment. These laws also prohibits an employer from retaliating against any person because that person has opposed an unlawful discriminatory practice, made a complaint, testified, or assisted in any investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this law.

Recently, in a major victory for Christopher Zamora, a Houston police officer who brought Title VII claims against the City of Houston for retaliation based on race discrimination, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed the district court’s refusal to overturn a jury verdict in his favor and also reversed the district court’s ruling vacating the jury’s award of future compensatory damages to Zamora.

Interestingly, the prime basis for Zamora’s lawsuit was his retaliation claim under Title VII wherein he argued that the Houston Police Department retaliated against him because his father had previously participated as a plaintiff in a former race discrimination lawsuit filed by several officers against the department back in 2007. Zamora claimed in this lawsuit that as a means of retaliating against him based on his associated to his father, the department removed Zamora from an assignment to the department’s prestigious Crime Reduction Unit.

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Initially, Zamora’s complaint was dismissed because the retaliation was based on association rather than direct conduct by Zamora. However, during the pendency of the lawsuit, including the appeal process, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, a 2011 decision, whereby the Supreme Court held that a plaintiff could base a Title VII retaliation claim on the protected activity of a close family member. As such, based on this new law, the Fifth Circuit reversed the dismissal of the case.

After numerous other proceedings, the jury finally reached a verdict in Zamora’s favor awarding him $23,000 in past compensatory damages and $127,000 in future compensatory damages. After the City moved for judgment as a matter of law and remittitur as to the damages, the district court denied the former but vacated the future damages award. Zamora and the City then appealed to the Fifth Circuit.

First, the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s ruling against the City with respect to its motions for judgment as a matter of law and new trial. The Court held that Zamora presented sufficient evidence and the jury made a reasonable and competent decision in his favor.

Next, the Court looked at the district court’s decision to vacate the future damages award. In overruling the district court’s decision, the Court held:

In sum, given the deference owed to the jury verdict and the evidence Zamora presented at trial, the district court erred in vacating the portion of the jury’s award attributable to future reputational harm. Yet, although we conclude that Zamora presented sufficient evidence to support an award of some amount of damages for future reputational harm, the jury’s award did not specify how much of the award was attributable to emotional distress and how much was attributable to reputational harm. On remand, the district court should consider remittitur to determine the amount of damages to which Zamora is entitled for reputational harm only.

As such, the end result of the Fifth Circuit’s decision is that Zamora will likely get some future compensatory damages, but maybe not the full $127,000 originally given to him by the jury.

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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