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Discrimination hotline won’t protect against lawsuit

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Merely creating a hotline for reporting discrimination isn’t enough to protect an employer against harassment and discrimination claims.

Recent case: A group of black employees sued CSX over what they claimed was a pervasive, racially hos­­tile work environment. Some of the men had reported alleged harassment and racial slurs to managers and their union. They said they never used CSX’s discrimination hotline be­­cause they had heard through the grapevine that they would be singled out for punishment, including more stringent en­­forcement of workplace rules.

CSX argued that it didn’t know about the alleged harassment be­­cause no one called the hotline and therefore shouldn’t be responsible.

But the court disagreed. It said the men could detail their complaints to the union and supervisors and ex­­plain why they didn’t call the hotline. The case will move forward. (Kemp, et al., v. CSX Transportation, No. 1:11-CV-706, ND NY, 2014)

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