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Don’t ignore minority-on-minority harassment

by on
in Human Resources

Steven Bell worked at a state prison with a co-worker who often hurled racial epithets at him, calling him "cracker" and "white boy." Bell is Filipino and his harasser is African-American. Bell repeatedly complained, but his supervisors only told the harasser to stop, then changed Bell's shift to limit their contact. The harasser was never disciplined. Bell sued, and a federal court let his claim of a hostile work environment proceed. Two lessons: Any race-based harassment, even between minorities, is illegal. Also, you have to give more than lip service to protect workers from harassment. (Bell v. Maryland, No. CCB-99-451, D. Md., 2001)

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