Employers, beware: More employees are suing over so-called association discrimination, claiming their friendships or other relationships with black employees have resulted in discrimination against them, in addition to their acquaintances.
Recently, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Michigan employers, considered such alleged discrimination at one large employer and came up with guidelines for when employees can sue based on their relationships with black employees.
Be sure to explain this case to managers and supervisors. Make it part of your standard harassment, discrimination and retaliation training.
Recent case: Lynette Barrett, who is white, was a friend to black employees where she worked at Whirlpool. Other employees treated her black co-workers poorly, and the environment was most certainly hostile. For example, black employees often heard racial epithets and sometimes were threatened with violence...(register to read more)