Racial taunts, threats of physical harm, eventual termination and retaliation are the core elements of a recent federal lawsuit against a Wisconsin manufacturer.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Sept. 29 filed a lawsuit against Oshkosh-based Lakeside Plastics Inc., the maker of traffic cones and screen-printing inks, for violating the civil rights of a Black employee.
Racial slurs and physical harm
During his two-month stint working at Lakeside Plastics in 2019, the male employee often faced harassment from a white co-worker. According to the lawsuit, the Black employee faced derogatory racial slurs and threats of physical harm along with promises from the white employee that he could get him fired.
Although the Black employee brought these threats to the attention of managers, he was terminated in a retaliatory move from the company. In the lawsuit, the EEOC seeks to obtain back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief for the displaced employee.
Signs of racism in the workplace
Throughout the country, racial harassment continues to be a problem in the workplace. Here are some indelible signs of racism within a company:
- Stereotyping: It is not unheard of for hiring managers to steer minority candidates to entry-level jobs when those candidates have the qualifications for upper-level positions.
- Blatant hostility: When hostility is out in the open, supervisors cannot and should not ignore it. Criticism and mockery of a person’s origins, dress and accent are racist.
- Hypercritical supervisors: Minority workers, sometimes, face ongoing criticism that their work is below standards when it is not.
- Often overlooked for promotions: No matter how exemplary their work, some people of color find themselves ignored for promotions and left out of mentoring opportunities.
No employee should have to face such dilemmas. A workplace must be free of racial discrimination.
Legal options as remedies
Employers such as Lakeside Plastics must understand the consequences of their unacceptable behavior and culture when it comes to racism in the workplace. The employees who consistently face racial discrimination have legal options to remedy these situations.