Best Ohio Race Discrimination Lawyer Reply: My racist boss refuses to let me do my job and has even demoted me; do I have a lawsuit for discrimination? Can my manager refuse to work with me because I’m Black? Can I sue if I was transferred because of my race?
As our employment discrimination attorneys have previously blogged about, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee on the basis of their race. (See What If I Was Fired After I Reported Race Discrimination?; Race Discrimination Lawyer’s Best Answer: Can My Job Discriminate Based On Customer Requests?; Race Discrimination Lawyer: What Is Reverse Discrimination?; and Is “Not A Good Fit” = Race Discrimination? I Need A Lawyer!). Specifically, Title VII makes it unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire or fire anyone because of their race, color, religion, gender/sex, or national origin, or to limit or segregate the employee from opportunities because of the aforementioned categories of individuals.
In the case of Littlejohn v. City of New York, Dawn Littlejohn, an African-American former employee of the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, was the Director of its Equal Employment Opportunity Office. Unfortunately for Littlejohn, although she was in charge of conducting investigations into discrimination claims, she herself became the target of unlawful discrimination by the City. Littlejohn began reporting to a Caucasian boss, Baker, who refused to give Littlejohn a fair shot at work because of her race. Baker would reprimand her for insignificant issues, berate her in front of other employees and even began to undermine Littlejohn by shutting her out of executive meetings, and asking her Caucasian subordinates to step in and do her job responsibilities. Baker even went so far as to ask Littlejohn if she had finally gotten the message—that she felt “like you are being left out,” and that Littlejohn just didn’t “understand the culture.” Littlejohn was eventually transferred to a different department and eventually demoted by the City to a non-managerial administrative position.
Littlejohn filed a lawsuit against the City and after an adverse decision by the trial court, filed an appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeal. The question before the court was whether or not Littlejohn had shown enough evidence that she was treated differently (“disparate treatment”) by the City. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals, concluded that the evidence provided by Littlejohn indeed had demonstrated there was sufficient to conclude that Littlejohn had met the evidence. The court held that she could do so by just showing an inference of discrimination:
the plaintiff does not need substantial evidence of discriminatory intent. If she makes a showing (1) that she is a member of a protected class, (2) that she was qualified for the position she sought, (3) that she suffered an adverse employment action, and (4) can sustain a minimal burden of showing facts suggesting an inference of discriminatory motivation, then she has satisfied the prima facie requirements and a presumption of discriminatory intent arises in her favor, at which point the burden of production shifts to the employer, requiring that the employer furnish evidence of reasons for the adverse action. Burdine, 450 U.S. at 253-54, 101 S.Ct. 1089; St. Mary’s Honor Ctr., 509 U.S. at 506-07, 113 S.Ct. 2742. At this stage, a plaintiff seeking to defeat a defendant’s motion for summary judgment would not need evidence sufficient to sustain her ultimate burden of showing discriminatory motivation, but could get by with the benefit of the presumption if she has shown evidence of the factors entitling her to the presumption. …
An inference of discrimination can arise from circumstances including, but not limited to, “the employer’s criticism of the plaintiff’s performance in ethnically degrading terms; or its invidious comments about others in the employee’s protected group; or the more favorable treatment of employees not in the protected group; or the sequence of events leading to the plaintiff’s discharge.
Here, there were plenty of inferences the jury could use to determine that Littlejohn was treated disparately because of her race—the shutout from meetings, the incessant reprimand, and the eventual demotion was enough to show Littlejohn was discriminated against because of her race. This case shows that employers will often use more subtle tatics to discriminate against an employee and to hide race related reasons of terminating and/or demoting employees to replace them with Caucasian counterparts. If you feel that you have been demoted or being treated differently because of your race, you should call one of our employment discrimination attorneys for a free consultation.
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.