On February 9th, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that food company Sara Lee discriminated against black employees at a facility in Paris, Texas.
According to the Commission’s findings, black workers were assigned to work in hazardous areas within the facility where they were exposed to asbestos, mold, and other toxins. In a statement, the agency revealed that several of the employees who had been discriminated against “have since died of cancer or other diseases caused by an environmentally toxic environment.”
In addition to the dangerous working conditions, black workers were subjected to intimidation, racial slurs, derogatory graffiti in employee bathrooms, and harassment by facility managers. They were also less likely to be promoted at work than their white counterparts.
Although employees complained that the conditions were adversely affecting their health, the management refused to address their concerns. After 25 workers filed complaints with the EEOC, the agency launched an investigation into the conditions at the plant.
Because of the EEOC ruling, employees affected by Sara Lee’s unlawful practices can enter into settlement discussions with the brand’s parent company. If an acceptable settlement is not reached, the EEOC may file a lawsuit against the company.
Racial discrimination in the workplace is unacceptable
The 1964 Civil Rights Act, the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) all prohibit racial discrimination in the workplace. Unfortunately, the law does not always deter bigoted individuals from acting maliciously towards others on account of their race.
If you have faced racial discrimination at work, there are actions you can take to assert your right to a safe and respectful workplace. You can file a complaint with an agency such as the EEOC, the New York State Division of Human Rights (NYSDHR), or the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR). Alternatively, you can file a lawsuit against the party that wronged you to recover monetary damages. The lawyers at Akin Law Group have the knowledge and experience to help you in this regard.
Illegal discrimination can emerge in many different forms
The managers in the Sara Lee case discriminated against black employees in an extremely blatant fashion. In many cases, however, discrimination may occur on a more subtle level. Sometimes, it may even come in the form of a superficially positive remark such as, “Jews are good with money.” Despite its positive overtone, this is a sign of anti-Semitism. Subtle comments and actions may make you hesitant to report discrimination for fear that you are overreacting or misreading the situation.
However, racial discrimination is a serious problem, no matter the form in which it appears. When you have to deal time and again with discriminatory acts at work, your workplace becomes a hostile and distressing place. You should never have to deal with ridicule, abuse, or unfair treatment at work because of your race or any other characteristic.
If you have been a victim of racial discrimination at work, the idea of filing a lawsuit may seem overwhelming. You don’t need to worry – the lawyers at Akin Law Group can help you every step of the way. They have extensive legal and courtroom experience, and can answer any questions you have about your situation and options. Contact the Akin Law Group at 866.685.5163 to schedule a free consultation with one of our employment lawyers.