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Monday, January 8, 2018

Extreme Race Discrimination including Nooses, KKK Emblems, and Racist Names at Work

As shocking as it may seem to some workers, blatant and egregious racial harassment in the US workplace still rears its ugly head in the 21st century and at times even includes KKK emblems, nooses and the N-word. An employer’s illegally using race as a factor as to who to promote and decisions as who to let go, is the more common form of race discrimination in today’s workplace. However, blatant and egregious racial harassment in the workplace, even in the form of KKK emblems, hangman’s nooses, and use of the N-word, is far more common than is generally known.

I have successfully represented numerous employees who experienced racial discrimination and harassment on the job, including a public employee who alleged that he was daily subjected to the "N-Word" on the job, where his boss, repeatedly called him the “N-word” in speaking to him in place of his name. This lawsuit was filed in State Court and the case settled for six figures. I settled a similar race case a few months ago on behalf of a cafeteria worker who alleged she was racially harassed and her supervisor called her the N-word and this case also settled for six figures. In these cases, the employer failed to adequately investigate their complaints and failed to take proper action.

Too frequently, the employer fails to adequately investigate such complaints of heinous behavior and take appropriate action. Recently an employer newspaper in 2017 settled a racial discrimination in employment lawsuit. One allegation was that his employer discriminated against him based on race and that his superior made racist jokes about another black employee’s spouse. Another allegation made through his attorney was that his department was so toxic, that a co-worker once wore a KKK belt buckle to work and the employer failed to discipline the employee.

The EEOC reported as far back as 2000, that since the late 1990s, it witnessed a disturbing national trend of increased racial harassment cases involving hangman's nooses in the workplace. 

Persons who experience racism at work are sometimes hesitant to report for fear that other employees will distance themselves, or that they will experience retaliation by the employer. The testimony one such worker is telling. In this matter, the African-American worker was subjected to hostile work environment discrimination based on race when a noose was placed in his work area.

This worker was subjected to racially derogatory comments from the time he commenced working for this employer. He testified that on his first day at work, a white mechanic coworker approached him and asked if he would like to hang from their family tree, and at the time the question was asked, another coworker motioned to look to the ceiling rafters and a noose was hanging there. The worker spoke to his supervisor and the general manager about it but he never heard back from them. The management failed to take appropriate action following the incident by failing to expeditiously relay information about the noose to subordinates and by failing to adequately investigate the incident. In the resulting lawsuit, the jury took less than one hour to deliberate and was unanimous in finding that he had been discriminated against based on his race.

According to one government agency’s statistics, race based charges filed with them increased by 10.65% from 1997. These statistics do not even include all of the cases filed by private attorneys in state and federal courts.

If You Are Thinking of Simply Resigning.

If you are thinking of simply resigning because of race discrimination in your workplace and/or because you notified your employer about racial harassment and no action was taken, you should contact an attorney experienced in employment law before you do so, to explore your legal options in the safest way for you.

What You Can Do.

I am an aggressive and compassionate employment law attorney who is experienced in successfully representing persons who were subjected to racial harassment and retaliation in the workplace and/or were fired. If you have experienced racism at work, or if you reported it and no action was taken, if you are thinking of resigning, or think you will be fired, or have been fired, it is important that you consult with an attorney who is experienced in discrimination.

If you are being subjected to workplace discrimination, contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law today for a free consultation.

Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law serves clients throughout New Jersey, including Bergen, Middlesex, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean, Union, Camden, Passaic, and Morris Counties with locations in Central, western and northern NJ to meet with clients.

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