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.
The 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.