Slurs and Racial Jokes Cause $3.3 Million Dollar Liability and More National Origin Discrimination Actions in California

A recent case showed how slurs and nasty jokes in the workplace create $3.3 million dollars in liability for a company.  In the case, two former minority employees of a road marking company, Safety Marking, Inc., alleged that the company promoted, and discriminated, based on race and did not prevent an ongoing severe hostile work environment.  Ultimately, a jury awarded them compensatory and punitive damages.  The plaintiffs were a Muslim and an African American, and the supervisors were mostly white.    In one of the allegations, the two minorities complained that although they received positive year-end reviews of their work, they were not promoted.  Further, the minorities suffered from taunting and relegated to unfavorable working condition that was even known to upper management.  This type of work environment, although less common nowadays, was prevalent and blatant enough that it inevitably concluded with the employees leaving and suing the company and its supervisors.

Another interesting case has been making its way through our judicial system in San Jose.  In this case, a bakery employee of Mexican descent sued the owner for retaliation stemming from her national origin discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  The bakery owner sued the worker alleging defamation due from comments made about his bakery online.  However, the EEOC believed that the owner’s defamation lawsuit was in response to the retaliation and discrimination complaint filed five months earlier.  Because of this arguably large gap between the lawsuits, the owner disputed the connection between the two actions.  In the original action, the worker prevailed and the owner was ordered to reinstate her with back pay along with a temporary restraining order prohibiting the owner from terminating the worker during the supplemental EEOC lawsuit.  It will be interesting to see how the case progresses.  See the following blogs for other national origin related cases.

If you believe that you, or another employee, suffered an employment law matter related to hostile work environment or national origin, age, disability, race, ethnicity or gender discrimination (or retaliation for filing a claim with the EEOC), prompt action to preserve your rights is crucial.  Contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Stephen Danz & Associates for a free consultation to discuss your circumstances and legal options.