Although what constitutes actions that are “enough” to show
racial harassment isn’t set is stone – case law provides some
guidance. In some situations the harassment is obvious – such as
a noose in the workplace. Other times case law finds racial discrimination
exists because of subtle practices that tend to screen out minority applicants
and employees, such as job and intelligence tests, appearance and dress
codes, English-only rules, relying on arrest records in making employment
decisions, and discriminatory recruiting practices.
In other situations, race discrimination may not involve official company
practices, but rather racial harassment, such as the use of derogatory
racial jokes by co-employees without knowledge of company management.
Whether it is an official company policy, or harassment by co-employees,
you may not be subjected to adverse action, including harassment, because
of your race or color.
If you believe you have endured racially discriminatory actions or racial
harassment, it’s important to seek the advice of a top
Atlanta race discrimination attorney right away.
A recent case evaluated the actions an African American United Parcel Service
(UPS) worker was subjected to and found that it was possible a jury could
find that he was a victim of racial harassment claim. In
Jones v. UPS, the former driver – Reginald Jones – stated that he found
banana peels on his truck, saw workers wearing Confederate appeals and
experienced a threatening confrontation with two white yardmen.
Although the district court ruled in favor of UPS and granted summary judgment
on Jones’s racially hostile work environment claims, the 11th Circuit
court reversed, finding that the banana incidents could be “racially
motivated.” The court also noted that a jury question exists concerning
the severity and pervasiveness of the banana incidents. These incidents,
combined with other harassing conduct could be considered “escalating
in frequency and seriousness” as required by racial harassment law.
The Appellate court acknowledged that while people commonly eat and discard
bananas without any racial motivation, the term “monkey” and
associated imagery historically has been used to communicate racial slurs
against black employees.
“[I]t ‘has become easier to coat various forms of discrimination
with the appearance of propriety’ because the threat of liability
takes that which was once overt and makes it subtle,” the court
said. “For instance, a discriminator may conjure up images of monkeys
by using items associated with monkeys, such as their stereotypical food
of choice, the banana.” As such, the appellate court said it had
“no difficulty” in finding genuine disputes of material fact
about whether the instances in which Jones found bananas on his truck
were based on race.
“There is no evidence that bananas were found on any other truck,”
it said. “Nor is there any evidence that Mr. Jones found any other
refuse on his truck. This combination of facts suggests the bananas were
not appearing on Mr. Jones’s truck by mere chance.”
Unfortunately despite many advances, racism still exists in the workplace
today. If you believe you have been subjected to racially motivated discrimination
or harassment, please contact the top
Georgia race discrimination and race harassment attorneys at The Buckley Law Firm, LLC right away
to protect your rights.