Employers that discipline employees who make racially offensive comments have done what’s required of them. Unless they hear about a recurrence, it’s safe to assume the problem was solved.
Recent case: Leslie, who is black, complained that a co-worker made offensive racial comments. The co-worker was disciplined. Later, Leslie was fired for arguing after she bumped into another employee.
She sued, alleging that the co-worker who had been disciplined never stopped making racial slurs.
But since Leslie never reported the continued behavior, the employer wasn’t held responsible. (Harrison v. Southeastern Radiology, No. 1:10-CV-605, MD NC, 2013)
Final note: In situations like this, regularly ask the offended employee if she has experienced more problems. Document her response. That makes for an even faster end to litigation.
- Court: Basing pay on past salary may spark Equal Pay Act lawsuits
- Posting openings, tracking all applications discourage frivolous discrimination lawsuits
- Worker pregnant? At least say, 'Congratulations!'
- Investigate even when employee complains belatedly
- Good records mean you're always prepared for court