Phillips & Associates

Race Hatred in the Workplace, use of the N Word, Symbols and Nooses, Monkey etc.

New York City Lawyers Helping Bring Claims of Racial Harassment

In spite of years of civil rights progress, reported racial harassment in the workplace is at high levels. Many Black workers report use of the "N word," hangman's nooses, images of monkeys, and other racist graffiti and propaganda being disseminated around them at work in both offices and factories. This egregious conduct often constitutes workplace racial harassment. If you face race hatred in the workplace, you should contact the New York City racial harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates.

Prohibitions Against Race Hatred in the Workplace

More than 50 years after the groundbreaking Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted, racial discrimination and harassment remain a problem. During the 2000s, these incidents had more than doubled since the early 1990s, at which time the EEOC reported that Black Americans filed nine out of 10 racial harassment charges. The harassment frequently involves threats of lynching, Nazi symbols, nooses, KKK videos, and remarks about things being better if the South had won. These symbols are among the most terrifying representations of racial harassment in the country, and sometimes they are also used on people of Native American, Latino, or Asian descent.

Sometimes employers treat these incidents without reasonable care. Employers sometimes claim that incidents like these are simply jokes or pranks. However, these incidents happen at both small and large companies and can cause significant emotional distress to victims in the workplace. Many employees have reported losing jobs as retaliation for speaking out against racial harassment.

Racial harassment is prohibited under Title VII, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law. The standards are similar, although there are some important nuanced differences with regard to standards, procedures, and remedies, making it imperative to consult an experienced attorney.

Generally, if you are alleging racial discrimination, you will have the burden of establishing that you are a member of a protected class, you were qualified for the position, you suffered an adverse employment action, and the discharge or other adverse action happened under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination. For example, if your supervisor was the person using the N word and putting out symbols of race hatred, and then you were terminated or not promoted, you may have a basis to allege race discrimination.

When the claim is that the race hatred led to racial harassment, you will need to show a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment exists if the job site is permeated with insults, ridicule, and intimidation that is severe or pervasive enough to change the conditions of the victim's employment and create an abusive working environment. It is rare that a couple of isolated and minor incidents will count as a hostile work environment. The court is supposed to consider all of the circumstances, including how often the harassment happened, how severe it was, whether it was physically humiliating or threatening, and whether it unreasonably interfered with work performance. In order to hold the employer accountable for the discriminatory acts, the employer needs to have encouraged, condoned, or approved them. Thus, it is very important to report the harassment to your employer so that you give your employer the opportunity to correct the situation.

The analysis under the New York City Human Rights Law involves a standard that imposes liability for discriminatory actions that go beyond what a reasonable victim of discrimination would consider petty slights and trivial inconveniences. Still, the issue will be whether the employer knew about, approved, condoned, or encouraged the harassment.

In some cases, a constructive discharge claim may be appropriate, but it is important to consult an attorney about whether your situation has risen to this level of intolerable. With this type of claim, you are asserting that the employer did not directly fire you but intentionally created an intolerable work environment that forced you to quit involuntarily. Working conditions are considered intolerable if they are so challenging and unpleasant that a reasonable person in the employee's shoes would have felt compelled to resign. As a plaintiff, you will need to show that the employer deliberately made the working conditions so intolerable that you were forced into an involuntary resignation.

Discuss Your Legal Remedies with a New York City Attorney

Our experienced attorneys are familiar with these types of cases and can advise you on your options for legal recourse if you have faced race hatred in the workplace. Call us at (212) 248-7431 or contact us via our online form. We fight employment discrimination in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, in addition to Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties and New Jersey. We offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, so we do not charge upfront fees.

PHILLIPS & ASSOCIATES
45 Broadway, #620
New York, NY  10006
Tel: 347-514-4805
Fax: 212-901-2107
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