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Your Employee Matters


By July 1, 2013No Comments

This case reminds me of the Bronx neighborhood where I grew up, except that it happened in upstate New York. The employer was a door-to-door transport company for the elderly and disabled. Apparently the Italian-American managers and workers gave their Black and Puerto Rican workers a hard time. The question in the case was whether their conduct, as boorish and bullying as it was, constituted racial harassment.

The court decided that there was enough evidence of racial hostility to take the case to trial. Rivera v. Rochester Genessee Regional Transportation Authority.

Comment: One has to believe that management had a good idea that this conduct was going on and chose to look the other way. It could be Christians abusing Muslims, men harassing women, or straights hassling gays. The point: Whenever you have a mix of cultures, races, genders, or sexual orientations in the workplace you have the potential for poor conduct. Smart employers will recognize this challenge and meet it head on by banning abusive behavior. I encourage HR That Works Members to review the Diversity and Discrimination Training Module and related materials.