Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP
Racism in the Workplace (In Case You Thought This Didn’t Happen Anymore)

o employee appears to have been fired. All but one resigned, as Victoria Prieskop reports for Courthouse News Service (“The Worst Boss in the World?“). The employer, an hotelier with four properties in his portfolio, apparently believed his employees’ resignations would insulate him from being sued for employer misconduct.

He was wrong.

After the man bought his fourth motel in New Mexico, according to Prieskop, he immediately began a systematic campaign to get rid of his black and Hispanic employees. He hauled out the usual epithets (Prieskop doesn’t say whether he used the epithets to his employees’ faces, but does it matter?) and made them (besides the one white housekeeper) park on the far side of the lot.

There’s more.

The man also prohibited the speaking of Spanish in his presence, according to the complaint brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and made his employees Anglicize their names, i.e. Latoya to Toya, as one example. When his employees quit one by one, he sent final paychecks as rolls of pennies.

As Prieskop reports, “All these tactics created a hostile work environment and were designed to force employees to quit.”

For those who erroneously believe we do not need affirmative laws prohibiting conduct like discrimination in the workplace, this case proves them wrong, and shows quite plainly that racism is alive and well.

As if we needed a reminder.

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