While you should certainly discourage workplace comments that could be misconstrued as hostile, don’t panic if you learn an insensitive supervisor said something stupid. Unless the remarks were out-and-out racist, chances are they won’t be the basis for a hostile environment racial harassment lawsuit.
Advice: If someone complains about questionable comments, caution the alleged offender about the potential for harassment. Remind him or her that double-entendres and jokes can be just as dangerous as obvious racism.
Recent case: Latrice, who is black, worked for BCBG Max Azria as a manager of the fashion retailer’s store on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. Her supervisor was of mixed white and black parentage. Latrice claimed that a co-worker told her that the supervisor thought Latrice did not look “Madison Avenue,” was lazy, overpaid and failing at her job.
On another occasion, Latrice recounted that her boss asked her what ...(register to read more)