There is a fine line that both employers and their employees walk each day to create a balanced and functional workplace. Each side has responsibilities to uphold and expectations to maintain. Employees expect to be treated with respect and compensated for a job well-done. Employers also have expectations for their employees to meet, such as maintaining a professional work environment and performing according to the company's standards and needs.
Federal laws and the laws right here in Michigan prohibit racial discrimination in the workplace. If an employee feels that they are being subjected to discriminatory behavior, they often pursue civil actions against their employer. However, employers have the responsibility to monitor employee's productivity and accountability. If an employee fails to perform at the appropriate levels, management has the unpleasant task to make necessary adjustments. Sometimes those adjustments may include employee termination.
Recently, three former employees of Wet Seal Inc. have recently filed a class action case against the company.
The complaint alleges that the clothing company purposely discriminated against its black employees. The lawsuit claims the company, which owns stores catering to young women, fired and denied promotions to black employees in order to create a more diversified work environment.
The plaintiffs' attorney is attempting to gain class-action status on behalf of over 250 Wet Seal employees working at the management level.
What constitutes racial discrimination in a Michigan employment litigation action can be quite subjective. As of now, only the plaintiffs' stories have been heard, while the company has not had its chance to counter the allegations.
Racial discrimination is a serious allegation within the workplace and can lead to disgruntled and angry employees. Discrimination claims such as this can lead to difficult and lengthy litigation costing employers thousands of dollars.
Source: Los Angeles Times, " 3 former Wet Seal managers file bias lawsuit ," Shan Li, July 13, 2012