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)