Employees should never have to feel unsafe at work, but unfortunately, many of them do. Some may feel as though they are judged for being a certain religion, sexuality, race or other protected class. This is what one phlebotomist at the University of California Los Angeles alleges happened to her, when she says she faced workplace discrimination due to her race.
According to the former employee's lawsuit, she says she experienced racially motivated discrimination, harassment and retaliation. She claims that another employee used a particular racial slur to refer to her and used another racial slur in conversation on many occasions. She also says that other co-workers said derogatory things in regard to her skin color and threw away or altered blood specimens she collected. She also says that UCLA fired her despite the fact she had never been reprimanded for anything.
A jury sided with the woman, awarding her $1.5 million in damages. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission confirms that racial slurs definitely meet the criteria for a hostile work environment. It also says that companies need to take steps to prevent behavior like this from happening in the first place.
An incident like this one is a reminder that workplace discrimination can have a significant and negative effect on employees who are the targets of it. Though many people often feel powerless when facing this kind of a situation, there are legal channels available that can help. An experienced employment law attorney here in California can help an affected individual understand the options for legal recourse.