We represented “Bill,” “Frank,” and “Joe” on allegations of racial discrimination in their workplace. Being some of the only African-Americans in the company, they were told by their white and Hispanic coworkers that African Americans didn’t last long at their company because they were unable to work hard. However, the reality was that African-American workers often quit because of how toxic and racist the work environment was.
All three employees regularly faced verbal harassment in the form of racial slurs being used or directed at them to their faces. Joe was the only African American employee at the company to receive a promotion to a supervisor position. Despite this, he experienced micromanagement, and higher employees at the company refused to allow him to carry out his supervisor duties without approval – even though his white and Hispanic coworkers didn’t need approval. Joe was also prevented from getting a promotion into a position he had experience in when a Hispanic employee with no experience was selected instead. Joe decided that he had experienced enough discrimination and left the company.
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Another worker, Bill, was prevented from advancing in the company and often heard racial slurs being directed at him in another language because his coworkers believed he wouldn’t understand what was being said. When he indicated he did understand them, his coworkers continued to use them. At one point, Bill was considering applying for an open promotion that he was the most qualified person for but learned that his supervisor had told a white employee with very little experience that he could guarantee him the position if he applied for it. Bill had been working for this company for several years at the time, and because he had already faced scrutiny and insults over good work he did or minor mistakes he made and because he was already passed up for the promotion by a coworker who had years less of experience than him, he did not end up applying for the promotion.
Frank also experienced discrimination, from racial slurs to having his equipment tampered with by his supervisor and white coworker in the hopes of hurting Frank or causing him to be fired. The supervisor who sabotaged his tool was the same supervisor who had discriminated against Bill. Both Bill and Frank raised their concerns over the targeted behavior, but the supervisor was only fired after an investigation into Frank’s equipment incident despite various complaints over the years. Once the supervisor was fired, Bill faced retaliation that escalated to the point that his new supervisor screamed in his face when Bill attempted to help fix broken equipment. This incident was so bad that he took leave just to get away from the environment.
This racial discrimination was some of the worst and most aggressive behavior our office has challenged. We took on their case and found many current and previous employees who were willing to testify to the extreme discrimination present in the company. Despite this, the company’s attorneys were very stubborn and resisted our initial offers for settlement. However, after just a few pre-suit demand letters and a mediation conference, we convinced them to settle for $270,000.
It was an honor to represent Joe, Bill, and Frank.