You’re almost guaranteed a messy lawsuit if you ignore an employee’s complaint that a supervisor used a racial epithet. Courts have ruled that even a single use of the N-word can be enough to create a racially hostile work environment when the speaker is a supervisor.
Recent case: Tara Williams, who is black, worked as a registered nurse for Mercy Health System.
Williams began having trouble almost immediately after she was hired, when a supervisor allegedly told her and her sister, who also worked for the health care operator, “You people cannot just be rolling out of bed at 12:00, you people cannot just be lazy.”
Williams began to complain about other incidents she believed were racially motivated, including disparate treatment of white and black nurses. For example, Williams said she had to use her vacation time to cover her hours when there wasn’t enough work, while white nurses did not.
Williams said that after her comp...(register to read more)
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- Track discipline for equitable punishment
- Warn managers and supervisors: Never suggest that employees' kids get in the way of work
- Stop harassment suits before they start! Follow up with employees after every complaint
- When discipline differs, be sure to document why