You’re risking trouble if you don’t have an anti-harassment and discrimination policy that allows employees to report discrimination and harassment.
Recent case: Samuel, who is black, worked as a plumber on a construction project. His supervisor always paired him with one of the few other black workers. The supervisor also allegedly called Samuel “Sambo” at least four times. Samuel said he would have reported the name-calling, but there was no set policy for doing so. Then, the supervisor laid off Samuel, announcing he wanted to “lighten up” the project.
Samuel sued. The court said the combination of no complaint process, alleged name-calling and the “lighten up” comment, even if ambiguous, was enough evidence to send the case to trial. (Gaiter v. Liberty Mechanical Contractors, No. 13-CV-7116, SD NY, 2015)