One problem that is sometimes faced in the workplace is racial insensitivity. Racial insensitivity occurs when someone shows a lack of tact or feeling toward those who are of a different race or ethnic background. There are many ways in which a coworker or a supervisor might harass you. You can be the victim of racial insensitivity or harassment even if you aren’t the person being harassed directly. Just so long as you are affected by the offensive conduct that is displayed by the other person or persons, then you are a victim.
There are various kinds of racial harassment that can happen in your workplace. Even if the remarks, comments, drawings, or written references are specifically directed toward you, they can be hurtful, embarrassing, and offensive. Here are some of the different kinds of conduct that are considered racial harassment:
- Verbal or written conduct, such as racially fueled jokes, threats, organized hate activity, slurs, name-calling, comments about personal behavior, one’s body, or clothing, or telling rumors about one’s personal life.
- Physical misconduct, such as assault, rape, inappropriately touching clothing or body, and blocking one from moving or entering an area; such as blocking a copier or a water fountain so you cannot access it when you need to do so
- Visual displays such as posters, pictures, drawings, or emails of a racial nature, epithets on the employer’s property, items of racial significance, such as swastikas or a hangman’s noose or references to those of a certain race, religion, or cultural or ethnic background
- Nonverbal conduct, such as derogatory gestures or facial expressions of a racial nature, malicious interference with work performance, stalking or following you while on work premises and, also, when you leave work to go home or to go elsewhere
As an example, a coworker may be telling jokes about Jews, African-Americans, or Germans, or a manager may be drawing swastikas on the corners of memos that are being handed out. These may be offensive to you because you are of Jewish descent or you have friends who are Jewish. Regardless of whether your coworker knows your ethnicity or origin, these are racially discriminatory acts that should be properly addressed.
What To Do Going Forward
As soon as you realize you have suffered racial insensitivity or racial discrimination, you should report it to your manager or to human resources as quickly as possible. Be sure to jot down details about the even while it is still fresh in your mind. The more precise and detailed that you are, the more likely you will succeed with your claim.
You will also need supporting evidence that helps you show what happened, how it happened, and that you and/or others were the victims of this activity. You should ask any witnesses or coworkers to write down that they heard or saw. Ask them to be as objective as possible. They should sign their statement with their full name, the date, and their contact details.
Seek Legal Guidance
You don’t have to put up with racial insensitivity in the workplace. You should speak with an attorney who will consolidate all your evidence and who will work aggressively to build a case on your behalf. With a lawyer representing you, you are much more likely to have a successful case and put an end to the harassment and inappropriate behaviors in the workplace.
Discrimination is real, and you should stand up and fight for your rights and the rights of others. Your lawyer will review the details of the situation and will determine which laws have been violated. You have rights, and your employment attorney will make sure your rights are protected and your interests are protected. When you hire an employment lawyer who is licensed in your state, you are much more likely to get your claim on the right track and have success with it.
Employment lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that you will not have to pay anything out of pocket. Instead, your lawyer will be paid only when you win your claim and recover damages. Your employer will pay your legal fees – including any attorney’s fees – when you win your claim. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page so an attorney near you can review the details of your claim and determine the best way to proceed with your claim because of a racially insensitive worker in the workplace.