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Offended employee must report ongoing harassment

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Employers that discipline employees who make racially offensive comments have done what’s required of them. Unless they hear about a recurrence, it’s safe to assume the problem was solved.

Recent case: Leslie, who is black, complained that a co-worker made offensive racial comments. The co-worker was disciplined. Later, Leslie was fired for arguing after she bumped into another employee.

She sued, alleging that the co-worker who had been disciplined never stopped making racial slurs.

But since Leslie never reported the continued behavior, the employer wasn’t held responsible. (Harrison v. Southeastern Radiology, No. 1:10-CV-605, MD NC, 2013)

Final note: In situations like this, regularly ask the offended employee if she has experienced more probl­­ems. Document her response. That makes for an even faster end to litigation.

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