Coca-Cola Company, that does business throughout Indiana and across the world, is being sued for race discrimination. The lawsuit has been brought on behalf of 16 current and former employees that are black or Hispanic and who claim that a culture of racism pervades throughout the company.
Such workers have complained that they are often hired on to perform high risk duties or tasks outside of their job descriptions. They have also asserted that the seniority system at the corporation does not in any way benefit minorities. Advancement for minorities is limited as was the ability to work overtime. Most importantly, the workplace environment they said invited retaliation if anyone complained about their job circumstances.
Whether the allegations contained within this lawsuit do have merit, what has been maintained by the plaintiffs in the suit must be taken seriously. This would not be the first circumstance where a hostile work environment was said to exist in a major corporation.
Proving up a culture of racism in the workplace can prove difficult as it's often not clear what discrimination came about solely as a result of an individual act and what discrimination was due to management remaining unresponsive to racial discrimination occurring at the workplace. Distinguishing between the two types of acts would require investigation and analysis of attorneys experienced in discrimination type suits.
Often the reason why such claims are viewed skeptically is because individuals that are not a part of a minority group have failed to encounter such discrimination before. Yet to believe that such discrimination has disappeared when it was so present in our recent history would be wishful thinking.
Source: Business Insurance, "Coca-Cola unit sued for alleged racial discrimination," by Judy Greenwald, March 19, 2012