Equal Opportunity In The Workplace

What people do not know can hurt them. Worst, presenting their positions without being properly informed can cause them to effectively appear ignorant. For the past year, there are many who say that America needs to engage in discussion on race. This is true, but it’s impossible to fairly and honestly discuss race in America without discussing experiences. Experiences are not limited to getting angry looks, or hearing racial slurs spoken under one’s breath. Honest discussion must be based on processes and policies designed to discriminate. One area where we see that is in the area of employment.

As Dreamer noted in a comment she recently posted, there are people who sincerely believe that “Blacks have the same opportunities as Whites.” It is in the area of employment opportunities where America sees that Blacks are hired, and assumes that “same opportunities” is the same as “equal opportunities.”   They are distinct from each other.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC) investigates and files charges for age, disability, gender, national origin, and religious discrimination as well as race. Reading the lawsuits, I’ve found that companies that have a pattern of discrimination seem to have a very studied practice in effort to have defenses. Their defenses range from employees not telling them they are being discriminated against, to an employee not having the same job title as those similarly situated, and a host of other phony reasons that serve no purpose other than to extend the case hoping that the plaintiff surrenders.

Employers know that a former employee who has filed a lawsuit alleging civil rights violations, still has to go on with life.

3dcde0d30b70f4f22e7fe06bafc6d701The harm of discrimination cannot be appreciated in just knowing there was a lawsuit. It’s the allegations in the complaint, and how the companies defend, that reveals the processes of how companies discriminate, intimidate, and retaliate. A common defense now, appears to be that employers use geographical segregation and racism as an excuse for not hiring or failing to promote minorities.

  • In Texas, Frontier Materials Corp. was charged with failure to promote. The company’s president and CEO defended its actions by saying the company is in “redneck country” and customers would not accept a Black man as an account manager. That cost the company $45,000.
  • DHL Express was sued for subjecting a class of African-American employees to different job assignments because of their race. African-American drivers were assigned to predominately Black neighborhoods and White drivers to White neighborhoods. The investigation revealed that African-American employees were assigned to more difficult and dangerous work than Caucasian employees. The lawsuit, filed in Illinois, is separate and apart from the lawsuit filed against the DHL Texas warehouse, which was settled in 2012 for $201,000 to nine employees.
  • Health Help, Inc. of Arizona finally settled a case for $450,000, after its defense that it was protecting its minority employees failed. The health care provider refused to hire “Blacks or Jews” in its Oregon office on the basis that its clients lived in areas where the KKK is active.
  • Race, LLC, doing business as Studsvik, LLC, is a company in Tennessee that processes nuclear waste. The company manipulated reports in effort to cover that they exposed Black employees to higher levels of radioactive waste in addition to paying them less and permitting a White manager to regularly refer to Black men as “boy.” It cost the company $650,000, paid out to 23 Black employees.

There are non-minorities in the workplace who speak up when witnessing unlawful discrimination, and they suffer retaliation. That happened at Creative Playthings, Inc. in Pennsylvania, who fired a White district manager in retaliation for recommending two Blacks for district manager openings after telling him that “our customers can’t relate to minorities and therefore we must be choosy who we hire.” Creative Playthings, Inc. paid out a total of $275,000 to six people to resolve the lawsuit.

Money does not reverse the harm and injury caused by discrimination – it is essentially the only thing that the law allows for redress. Seldom do companies re-hire employees who prevail in discrimination lawsuits and seldom does any employee who has endured discrimination want to return to the abuser.

Prevailing in these cases is not easy. EEOC does not take on all cases. They perform an investigation and upon finding evidence, issue a “Right to Sue” letter to complainants. It is then up to the injured party to identify and get a lawyer to file the complaint, and they only have 3 months from the date of the “Right to Sue” letter to do so.

Dig into researching for a civil rights attorney, and you will find many. Dig a bit deeper, and you will find that the majority  represents employers, and not employees.

Eventually, I hope to write on what happens after a lawsuit alleging unlawful discrimination is filed.

This subject is about discrimination in the workplace after minorities get their feet in the door. The video below is about how companies are keeping the feet of Blacks from entering the door.



Posted on 06/23/2014, in Potpourri and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. yeseventhistoowillpass

    “Redneck Country” In Texas… Hard to believe.. The land of that moron Rick Perry…


    • LOL@Juan. I live and learn. I had not thought of Texas being “redneck” neither Florida as being “the south” until several years ago.


  2. Jueseppi B.

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.


  3. Xena,

    We are so FAR from being a post-racial society!

    You have pointed out that under fancy window dressings, horrible practices are going on that keep minorities on the outside deprived of the chance for making career and economic progress in this supposed land of opportunity for all. It is heartbreaking for me to see the examples you have presented in your article.

    I appreciate so much learning about specific unfair, discrimination practices and how they are being dealt with.

    What is obvious to me is that there must be a huge number of employees who do not have the money to hire lawyers after EEOC issues them a “Right to Sue” letter to complainants after investigating and finding evidence of discrimination. We need to find out just how many “discriminated against” employees there are who have no economic means to pursue a lawsuit.

    I look forward to your future articles on this topic and ” on what happens after a lawsuit alleging unlawful discrimination is filed.”


    • Yahtzee,
      Written in Title VII is a provision that the offending company pay the legal fees of the plaintiff if the plaintiff prevails. Some lawyers will take a client in a civil rights suit for no retainer. Some will accept a client for the cost of the filing fee. The filing fees in federal court vary by district.

      A plaintiff can also ask the court to appoint counsel. That is like rolling the dice the same as trying to get a public defender in a criminal case that is not rubbing elbows with prosecutors.


  4. It’s a shame that money is the only way to get the attention of those who discriminate. That and public shaming.


    • Yes, mindyme. It is a shame that money is the only form of redress. There are many charges that are resolved without going to court that we never hear about. There is a company in Illinois that had about 5 charges filed against them in 1 year. Those charges pretty much covered the spectrum of discrimination; 2 for age discrimination; 1 for discrimination against gender preference; 2 for race discrimination. One went to court and settled. The other 4 were settled out of court. Companies do that when they attempt to hide a pattern of discrimination.


      • It saves them a lot of money to just settle, but everyone in America needs to know this is happening.


        • mindyme, true, which is why I plan to write something about it at least once a month until the subject has been completely covered. That includes age discrimination.


  5. The way things are in equality for all people today in this nation is abhorrent! But let’s take a moment and look at a worse scenario, what if the GOP/TP/NRA party takes control of congress in the upcoming elections? Then let’s add this to the mix, the GOP/TP/NRA/Libertarian minority steals the presidential elections in 2016, that party will have as their candidates, Mitt Romney & Rand Paul.. With Mitt’s history of taking going business and raping them then selling them added to the racist history of Rand Paul’s family, think how much progress this nation will suddenly start to make toward equality and fairness for all people… Only the people of this nation can stop this from happening, and too many people simply don’t care enough to get involved… We are the ones that can/will make this a better world, if we really want too…


  6. Xena, Please forgive me for going a little off topic for a moment?
    Did anyone else hear Piyush Jindal the Governor of Louisiana call for a holy war in his speech to the radical right wing group lead by Ralph Reed? I simply can’t believe that so many people actually heard that and failed to call him out on his words of treason…


    • Crazy1946,
      No need to forgive. Feel free to post about any topic you wish on any article.

      I vaguely heard something about Jindal. Honestly, I don’t keep up with politics much unless it involves politicians in my local area, or during campaigns for president. I remember Jindal speaking during one campaign and the impression I got was wondering how he was ever elected to office.


  7. Xena, because I feel that the video interview that you posted in your article is very important, I have begun to transcribe it:

    Timestamp 0:43 to 3:43

    JORDAN GOLDMAN: A recent report from the Department and Council of Economic Advisors said that the difference between employment and unemployment, between White and African American candidates is doubled. African American candidates, even with a college degree are 50% less likely to get a job in this market right now.

    They’re also finding that, just in general, they’re experiencing increasing discrimination in the employment pool, and it’s becoming a real concern.

    INTERVIEWER: And, I know that Havard University looked into this by conducting a study where they sent out job applications…bogus job applications…using a sort of typically White name such as Emily Smith and the exact same application or similar qualifications with a name such as Lakisha Washington, you know, and they got a far greater response to the Emily Smith types of names.

    JORDAN GOLDMAN: Yeah, Havard sent out 5,000 applications: 2,500 had traditionally White names; 2,500 had traditional African American names. And, of these 5,000 applications that they submitted to about a thousand jobs, both the White and African American pool had equal resumes. So, on paper, these should have gotten the same amount of feedback.

    And, they did again find that 1 in every 10 resumes from a White applicant was accepted; 1 in every 15 resumes from an African American applicant was accepted. So, that is a 50% disparity.

    INTERVIEWER: And, something else that was shocking was that if a White applicant had a higher educational background, there was a very good chance that they would get a job. I a Black had a higher educational background, there was no difference, no change.

    JORDAN GOLDMAN: Yes. There was absolutely no change, and they found that for an African American applicant to be on the same footing as a White applicant, you had to have 8 additional years of job experience, even when all other things were equal. So, this report was really, really disturbing.

    INTERVIEWER: Why is this the case? After all this time, what is behind all of this?

    JORDAN GOLDMAN: Well, UC Berkley recently commissioned a study where they try to dig a little deeper and say, “Why would this be happening?” And, they specifically focused on who were the hiring managers? and did the race of the manager have anything to do here.

    So, what they did was a 30-month study where they looked at a major U.S. corporation. They looked at a 100,000 hiring managers. And, they found that hiring managers who were White, Asian, or Latino disproportionately hired White applicants, and disproportionately did not hire African American applicants. It was only when hiring managers were African American themselves that the pool wound up being closer to national averages.

    INTERVIEWER: Very interesting. So, I guess the answer there is make sure that more African Americans make it to the managerial position, and actually end up hiring…

    JORDAN GOLDMAN: It’s difficult. I mean, the UCBerkley study tried to distinguish why would this be happening? And, they came up with 3 potential causes. One is that you tend to have your own networks that you hire from, and that, if you were White, Asian or Latino hiring manager, you may not have as many trusted African Americans in your own network. One, is that managers may feel that they are going to get more out of an employee that’s more like them, so they tend to hire more along racial lines. Or, the third is just out and out discrimination…that people are not taking people for face value.


    • Yes that is disturbing, and that kind of blows the theory out of excuse 104, “if blacks would get off their arses and get and education.” I’m not complaining that and education is a bad thing for anyone, but it sure would be nice if that education led to an equal opportunity for all job seekers.


      • dreamer,
        Just found out today that there is a class action suit in Chicago against Comcast. It includes allegations of failure to train properly to promote. So here we have a company that hires Blacks, but denies them significant training so that they advance on the job. That is oppressive.


        • Xena,

          Now you got me thinking over my job history, as I did work in a couple of large call centers. I can only recall in one call center two black women in management positions, both being my managers at one time. They were both wonderful women and I enjoyed working for both. I don’t know if they were promoted or hired into management.


          • dreamer,

            don’t know if they were promoted or hired into management.

            It could have been either-or. Some companies are fair. Others are not. There are companies who hire minorities for positions with important responsibilities, then do not allow them to do the job they were hired for. That seems to also be true recently for older workers.


  8. Civil rights cases filed in federal courts have risen 27 percent in 20 years.



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