Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Arkansas

Q: Can you sue an employer if you think you were terminated as retaliation for reporting racial & discrimantory acts?

I was the only AA at my job in corporate banking. I suspected that I was being discriminated against. For example, there were certain restrictions placed on what I could do but, after asking several non AA coowrkers who started the same day as me who stated they didn't have any restrictions placed on them limiting what they could do in terms of job duties. After sharing my feelings with the few co-workers I trusted, I felt the need to start documenting things such as emails, job perfromance records. After a little while the work enviroment started to feel very hostile. I spoke with the branch manager about it & she stated I needed to have proof if I felt like I was being discriminated against. After that conversation I started recording everything. On several occasions I recorded my co-workers, & manager saying racially inappropriate things about AA, Mexicans, and making disparaging comments & statements towards me to which my manager was apart of. After taking it HR, I was terminated.

1 Lawyer Answer
Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert
  • Employment Law Lawyer
  • Columbus, OH

A: You may be able to bring a claim for retaliation based on complaints of race discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. To prove this claim, you must be able to establish that (1) you engaged in a protected activity; (2) you suffered an adverse employment action; and (3) there is a causal connection between your protected activity and your employer's adverse action. You engage in a protected activity if you complain of race discrimination to your employer, being terminated is an adverse employment action, and a close time proximity between your complaints and your termination can establish a causal connection. However, it is important that your complaints to your manager and HR were complaints of discrimination based on race, and not simply complaints of unfair treatment in general.

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