Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a law that protects workers from race-related discrimination. Under this federal law, this means not only are employers prohibited from discriminating against a current employee due to his or her race, but an employer also cannot make hiring decisions based solely on race.
Of course though, while this federal law has been in place for some time, it sadly does not mean all employers always follow it. In turn, though, if it is believed a place of business is discriminating based on race, employees can decide to file a lawsuit.
Recently, a group director at Tiffany & Company filed a lawsuit claiming his employer was engaging in "systematic" and "nationwide" discrimination. According to the complaint, of the more than 200 management positions, including store directors and members of the board, he is the only African-American in a management position.
The lawsuit claims that this group director, who started working for the company in 1993, had always received positive reviews until last fall when there were management changes within the company. After all directors were asked to send in pictures of themselves, his next springtime review was negative and he was put on warning for termination. The lawsuit goes on to claim this negative review was despite the fact that sales at one of his stores had increased by 15 percent, while sales at other stores only increased by 1 percent.
Tiffany & Company is denying the claim.
At this point, since the case is ongoing, one can really only speak in generalities about racial discrimination in the workplace.
For those employees working in New York City, when any type of discriminatory behavior takes place, there may be legal options that can be taken. No one should ever feel like they do not have a voice. By talking with an attorney, not only are concerns and complaints being heard, but this could end up being the first step toward holding an employer accountable for its actions.
Source: The New York Times, "Employee's Suit Accuses Tiffany of Racial Bias," Elizabeth A. Harris, May 29, 2014