When employees complain they are being harassed or say they work in a racially hostile environment, treat those claims seriously. Thoroughly and completely investigate their complaints, and resolve them as soon as possible.
Recent case: Mario Cantu, who is white and of Hispanic descent, works as a corrections officer at Michigan’s Ryan Correctional Facility. He reported that, against prison policy, a black female corrections officer was alone with a prisoner in a bathroom. An investigation followed, and the woman was fired.
Cantu claimed that since then, black corrections officers constantly harass and threaten him, calling him a white “snitch.” Cantu claimeddid nothing to stop the harassment, and in fact went out of its way to assign him to shifts with the worst harassers.
He sued, and a court ordered a trial, reasoning that a jury should decide whether Cantu had to work in a racially hostile environment and whether management participated in the harassment. (Cantu v. Michigan Department of Corrections, No. 07-CV-10339, ED MI, 2007)
Final note: This case clearly shows that allowing harassment to continue is a sure way to the courthouse.
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