Back in 2005, a racial discrimination lawsuit was levied against Merrill Lynch, one of the largest brokerage firms in the United States. According to the complaint, which later became a class-action lawsuit on behalf of some 700 African-American brokers, Merrill Lynch managers failed to provide proper training to its black employees, putting them at a disadvantage when compared to their white coworkers. The lawsuit also contended that some of the black brokers also felt ostracized by their coworkers as well.
Despite state and federal laws that prohibit employers from racially discriminating against their workers, incidences of this deplorable behavior occur in cities across the nation, sometimes even here in our very own Indianapolis. Some people here in Indiana may have already heard about the case of racial discrimination out of Texas this month where a worker claims that he was denied a position he rightfully earned because of the color of his skin.
People in Indiana, and across the nation, expect that they will be relatively safe from persecution or discrimination at their job. Though most businesses enforce serious consequences to anyone who breaks anti-discrimination and harassment rules, often times, managers and supervisors are largely unaware of their employee's behavior towards their coworkers. But what if your manager is aware of it? What if they do nothing to stop it?
If you have not heard, the end of last month brought two separate lawsuits involving claims of racial discrimination at two banking institutions. The suits both involve individual employees, both of whom are black men. If the allegations within these filings are found to be true, Indiana residents should understand that the implication is that race discrimination is alive and well, even at the highest levels of the American financial industry.
If you follow this blog regularly, you know that racial discrimination is illegal in the workplace. If the behavior is suspected, it can cause employees to file civil actions against an employer in Indiana. If the employees believe the behavior is widespread and systematic, they can move to have the employment litigation transformed into a class action suit. This is the case with employees of Wet Seal, a clothing store, who have recently filed a class action case against the company.
As Indiana employees know, virtually all workplaces have policies in place to prevent discrimination. However, such efforts are not always sufficient enough to deter acts of discrimination from taking place. In the realm of racial discrimination, most Americans might agree that our nation has come a long way toward treating employees equally, regardless of their racial or ethnic background. However, one recent case suggests that racial discrimination is still alive and well in our society, even within the very institutions that we rely upon to promote justice and uphold the law.
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.
Whatever the cause, job discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have gone up 2-years in a row. However, the most common employment dispute allegation for Indiana and other state's public and private employees has involved retaliation by employers against employees for the airing of grievances (the second on the list being racial discrimination).
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bans employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of race, religion or nationality.
Bass Pro Shops, a supplier of fishing and hunting gear in Indiana, has been accused of discrimination based upon race in their employment hiring practices. The U.S. Equal Employment Commission (EEOC) recently filed a lawsuit based on these allegations against Bass Pro Shops in federal court.