Reporting incidents of harassment without suffering consequences is something that every employee should have the benefit of. However, there are cases each year where companies will not encourage these reports. In a recent case, a Texas company settled a retaliation and harassment lawsuit that alleged that they punished an employee after he reported that he had been racially harassed by his immediate supervisors.
The man reported that his supervisors had directed racial slurs at him. The man, who is of African American descent, reported these incidents in the hopes that company officials would take the proper action to ensure this conduct did not continue. However, in response, the company allegedly reduced the man's hours and gave him only menial tasks to complete, such as cleaning company trucks.
As a result of the settlement, the company agreed to pay $150,000 in damages. The company also agreed to amend their work policies to make it clear that they will not allow racial harassment. Training programs will also be implemented to ensure that their amended policies are followed by employees.
Every employee has the right to feel comfortable in reporting workplace harassment. Retaliation for such reports is against Texas law and can subject the company to a lawsuit if the evidence shows that their retaliation was in response to a report made by one of their employees. Not only may this suit allow the damaged individual to be compensated, but it may also, like in this case, force the company to take measures to ensure that this type of behavior is not repeated.
Source: hr.blr.com, "Texas energy company to pay $150,000 for racial bias," June 21, 2013