What should you do when an employee keeps spouting offensive racial slurs despite repeated warnings to stop? Fire her before she says or does something that leads to a lawsuit.
If a bigoted employee doesn’t heed your first warning, she isn’t likely to change. Then it’s just a matter of time before a customer, co-worker or subordinate files an EEOC complaint.
Recent case: Tara worked at a Jos. A. Bank clothing store. The chain has a strict policy against making racial or other offensive comments.
Tara was disciplined for a series of slurs. She allegedly suggested that a co-worker who was trying to sell his parents’ older Cadillac take it “to colored town.” She told a Jewish customer, “Man, quit trying to Jew me down. This ain’t no Mercado Juarez.” Finally, she told a co-worker who was folding clothes, “You need to get the n****r to do that.” This was apparently the last straw. The clothing chain fired her.
Tara sued, alleging sex discrimination.
But the case was quickly tossed out. The court reasoned that even if she could make a prima facie case for sex discrimination, Jos. A. Bank had a clear, legitimate reason for her discharge—namely that she frequently violated the company’s ban on offensive statements. She couldn’t show that any other employee who made the kinds of comments she made hadn’t been fired. (Moyer v. Jos. A. Bank Clothier, No. 3:11-3076, ND TX, 2013)
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