Monday, December 07, 2009

Examples of Potentially Illegal Actions in the Workplace

Discrimination, harassment, and retaliation are illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Below is an important reprint of examples of workplace situations that may indicate a race-based issue at work.

Examples include:

-- a company that doesn’t post job openings and routinely fills positions with Whites from both inside and outside the company—without African Americans and other minorities having first cracks at the job as an internal hire;

-- unequal pay for African Americans performing the same work as Whites (with similar education and work experience);

-- segregating African American employees to only work on African American projects and contracts;

-- isolating and segregating African Americans by assigning them to work only in specific locations;

-- reclassifying jobs at a lower level and assigning African Americans to perform the work;

-- routinely denying African Americans promotions;

-- laying off African American employees, while White counterparts maintain their jobs; and

-- asking potential employees to identify their race on an employment application, which might indicate that race may be a factor in hiring decisions.

Examples of harassment/a hostile work environment might include:

-- being subjected to heightened scrutiny and observation from coworkers, supervisors, etc.;

-- personal attacks based on stereotypes and racist assumptions;

-- a supervisor that regularly screams directly into the face of subordinate, in private or in front of coworkers;

-- physical threats of violence or actual physical abuse (e.g., shoving or bumping);

-- verbal abuse/put-downs, name calling or the use of racial epithets or slang;

-- job threats/intimidation;

-- intentionally malicious and false gossip;

-- stare down contests; or

-- intentional humiliation.

Examples of retaliation (for complaining of mistreatment, opposing discriminatory practices, etc.) might include:

-- stripping an employee of their staff;

-- an unjustified salary cuts;

-- the denial of standard employee benefits (e.g., use of leave, etc.);

-- a demotion;

-- a transfer to a hard-to-reach office;

-- stripping an employee of their workload/assignments; or

-- an intentionally negative and malicious performance evaluation; or

-- the denial of an anticipated promotion.

Please keep in mind that the list is not exhaustive and only represents examples of potentially illegal behavior. These are the types of incidences and situations that you should be documenting. Should you decide to make complaints, these types of situations should convey to the authority that there is a situation that demands attention and remedy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post!!!!

I have a question. Can you be responsible for a task not getting completed, that another supervisor's sub-ordinate didn't complete? I have an EEOC claim agaisnt my company and in retaliation the company wants to hold me responsible for another supervisor subordinate because I can relate to him better. I just think the supervisor should handle her own subordinates by making sure she completes her own task by following up. We work in a big-box retail setting.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done!

What about Whistleblower protections? If I complain to the EEOC, am I protected against retaliation (and pretext to hide the retaliation) to keep from getting fired?

The initial complaints to the company have brought on a wrath of pretext where they are building a case to fire me with.

Does filing a complaint with EEOC stop a company from retaliating by firing me?

4:22 AM  

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