Best Ohio Race Discrimination Lawyer Reply: What are some examples of discrimination? How do I report racial discrimination? Can I be fired for reporting racial discrimination to HR? What can I do if my general manager keeps using racial slurs at work? Employment Law: What Is Race Discrimination?
As an employment
discrimination lawyer, I’m often asked about my job and the cases that we
handle – at parties, school events for my kids and even while standing in line
at Target. Amazingly, most people still don’t understand the basics about what
race discrimination is. Many people often ask, “what is race discrimination at
work – like when you are wrongly fired for being black?” Well, yes, race
discrimination can involve wrongful termination, but it includes
much more than that. Race discrimination occurs when a person treats
another person unfavorably because he/she is of a particular race or because of
personal characteristics associated with that race (such as hair texture, skin
color, or certain facial features). In the employment setting, race
discrimination can involve treatment from a boss, manager, supervisor, the CEO
or the owner of the company – such as only promoting white employees or paying
Caucasian workers more than African American workers; or it can involve giving
white employees more chances under the progressive disciplinary system while
skipping disciplinary steps for Black employees. (See My
Boss Says He Didn’t Know I Am Black!; Help!
My Boss Won’t Stop Race Discrimination!; My
Job Discriminates Against Black Pregnant Women!; Can
My Boss Deny Work Vehicles To Only Black Employees?). Race discrimination
and racial harassment can come from coworkers (See Can
I Sue My Co-Worker For Discrimination?; Help!
My Boss Won’t Stop Race Discrimination!). Racial discrimination and
harassment can also come from customers. (See What
Can I Do About Racist Customers?; Race
Discrimination: Customers Are Not Always Right; Can
My Job Give In To Patients’ No Blacks Demands). No matter where it comes
from, you have a right to work in an environment that is free from
discrimination and harassment that is based on the color of your skin.
What makes race discrimination
illegal? Employees are protect under Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Ohio’s R.C. § 4112.02(A) from
being discriminated against by their employers on the basis of race.
Specifically, Title VII prohibits race discrimination in hiring, promotion,
discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and
other aspects of employment. Similarly, Ohio R.C. § 4112.02 prohibits
discrimination based on race, color, or ancestry.
The next questions that most
people ask is, “Can I be fired for reporting race discrimination?” Not legally.
Most people are obviously fearful that a boss or manager will retaliate against
employees that report race discrimination or racial harassment. But, Title VII and the Ohio Fair Employment
Practice Act, R.C. § 4112.01 et seq. both prohibit 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. Indeed, it is often
easier to prove a case of retaliation against
a supervisor or general manager than it is to establish a case for racial
discrimination. (See What
Does My Job Have To Do When I Report Race Discrimination?; I
Was Fired After I Reported A Violation At Work!; Can
I Be Fired For Reporting Discrimination To HR?).
But, most frequently, people
ask me what’s the worst type of race stuff our employment discrimination
lawyers see. When I explain that we frequently see use of the n-word, grown
African American men being called “boy,” nooses being hung in locker rooms,
racial slur graffiti on walls, black employees being kept out of certain
bathrooms and ghetto jokes – the most common response is not appall or distain,
but rather disbelief. Most people think that there is no way this type of
blatant race discrimination and harassment is still really going on. Our
employment law attorneys have blogged about some of this before. (Law:
My Boss Called Me Nigger and Monkey. What Should I do?; Can
I Sue My Employer If My Boss Calls Me A Lazy Stupid African? Best Lawyer Reply!;
Discrimination: Using The “N-Word,” Even Once, Can Create A Hostile Work
Environment.; Judge Kimball holding; Racial
Discrimination: Boss Argues The Term “Nigger” and “Monkey” Not “Slurs But,
Rather, Terms Of Endearment” Shockingly Loses, Pays Large Sum Of Money.; My
Racist Boss Says “Nigger,” “Wetback,” “Wagon Burner,” & “Beaner” All The
Discrimination: Minority Bosses Cannot Use N-Word Either).
Still many people don’t believe
me. Bull shit, come on, no way – they will say. So, with them in mind, I point the
recent story of a CEO and Uber driver. Hans Berglund, then-CEO of Tempe
fertilizer company Agroplasma, pulls up his Uber app and orders a car. Randy
Clarke, a four year Uber vet and an Arizona State University student, pulls up.
Hans wants to sit in the front seat, but Randy tells him no (because he was sexually harassed
recently by a gropey passenger). Mr. CEO get pissed at the young African
American driver, cusses at him, and starts making threats of canceling the call
and reporting Randy to Uber for bad service but get in the back seat anyway. By
this point, Randy has had enough of the attitude, does not feel comfortable,
and tells Hans to get out of his car. In my mind’s eye, I picture him saying “Hans, Bubbe,
get out of my car.”
Hans does not like this
so much, so he says, “You’re a fucking nigger. You’re fucking unbelievable.”
And, there we have it – the n-bomb was dropped. The CEO of a company got
frustrated and lashed out by using the n-word. Unfreaking real – except it is
undisputedly real because Randy has two cameras in the car that picked up Hans
Later Randy told CNN,
“This man probably does something big in society and employs people of color,”
Clarke recalled thinking. “There’s just no way somebody with a business should
be acting that way.” Truer words have never been spoken.
discrimination lawyers have often quoted Ayissi-Etoh v. Fannie Mae, et al. on
this point: “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.”
So, the shit hits the
fan for Hans and guess what? He offers an apology through his lawyer. However, when the microphone is directly in
his face, he wants you to feel bad for him! No, really. Hans said: “I’m taken
away as CEO from the company. I don’t have anything to do with the company
anymore. I’m fired … I founded the company, but I’m gone. I’m history. … It’s
so blown out of proportion, and it’s ruined my life. It’s ruined my company. It
ruins everything about my situation right now.” Well, shit Hans, you have
learned an important lesson, don’t use the n-word – not in anger, not in the
heat of the moment, not because you lost your cool and not because you think
you are saying it privately in a car with no one is listening.
The company did the
right thing. Once a boss, manager, supervisor, or CEO utters that word,
everything else that he does is framed by that incredibly racist statement.
Companies cannot tolerate this type of racism.
So, for anyone still
doubting it, our employment lawyers are standing by to help you when racism
comes knocking at your door – or car door.
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, 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. Our Cleveland,
Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron and Youngstown lawyers are here to fight
for your rights.
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 if my
general manager calls me boy and nigga”, “I’m being discriminated against because
I’m African American”, “my boss makes racial jokes” or “How do I find the top
lawyers to sue my company for racial harassment at work”, your best option is
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.