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Warn supervisors against any statements about race

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in Human Resources

When a supervisor makes negative comments about an employee of a particular race or national origin, that can easily be interpreted as discrimination. And such statements can be enough to propel a lawsuit past the initial stages.

Even if the case is later dismissed, a derogatory statement may cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and lost time.

Recent case: Bank of America employee Juan Peraza, who is from El Salvador, sued after his boss allegedly made statements to the effect that “people from Latin America and Mexico” are ignorant.

The court said that such statements, if true, may be direct evidence of discrimination and refused to dismiss the case.

Peraza will now have to show that the statements were somehow connected to an adverse employment action. (Peraza v. Bank of America, No. 1:09-CV-936, MD NC, 2010)

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