Articles Posted in Color

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Sewing Company Settles National Origin Lawsuit For $75,000

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B.J. Con/Sew Corporation pays $75,000 to settle a national origin harassment lawsuit. Apparently the company sewed itself into a corner and ended up having a lawsuit filed against them by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC‘). According to documents which have been made public the company subjected an employee to harassment because of his Hispanic national origin. In Illinois Hispanic is not recognized as a race so you have to file under national origin, color or ancestry. The only three races which are recognized in Illinois are white, black and asian.

In this case the employee, Jason Ramirez, was forced to resign after the company failed to address multiple complaints that Ramirez made about the harassment. This is referred to as a constructive discharge. A constructive discharge occurs when working conditions get so bad any reasonable person would quit. It is treated the same as being fired for purposes of discrmiination claims. Ramirez, who has one Hispanic parent, was subjected to the harassment on a near-daily basis for two-years.

“There is no place for harassment of any kind in any workplace.” said EEOC attorney Lynette A. Barnes

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Rugo Stone LLC Settles A Discrimination Lawsuit For $40,000

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Rugo Stone, LLC, pays $40,000 to settle a national origin discrimination, religious discrimination and color discrimination lawsuit. The multi-count discrimination lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“) on behalf of Shazad Buksh. According to published accounts Buksh was an estimator and assistant project manager for Rugo Stone, and was subjected to derogatory comments from his supervisors, project manager and the company’s owner. All of these discriminatory comments were based on his national origin which was Pakistani, his religion which was Islam, and color which was brown.

The comments occurred daily and included things like Buksh being called a “Paki-princess” and told he was the same color as human feces. This type of activity at work is well beyond the accepted standards of decency. Can you imagine coming into work each day and listening to these comments . Buksh was told that his religion was “f—ing backwards,” and “f—ing crazy.” He complained to management but nothing was done to stop the discrimination. I am glad the EEOC made the company pay up and stop this type of behavior.

“Employers must remember that federal law prohibits harassment based on national origin, religion and color,” said EEOC Attorney Lynette A. Barnes.

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Discrimination Based on Ancestry In Chicago

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My Chicago offices gets many calls from employees of companies who happen to be Hispanic and believe they are the victim of discrimination. They usually want to file a racial discrimination lawsuit but I have to tell them that in Illinois the only three categories of race are White, Black and Asian. Does this mean they are out of luck? The answer is no. They can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“) for discrimination based on Ancestry. They could also file based on Color or National Origin. So what are the differences of each category? Well, Ancestry refers to the nation, country, tribe or other identifiable group of people from which a person descends. This covers a great deal of items.

National Origin on the other hand is based on ethnicity or accent. And lastly Color refers to the color of a person’s skin. As you can see there is a great deal of overlap in all three categories. As an attorney that handles all types of discrimination cases at the IDHR, I can tell you that it is important to have someone with experience on your side. The Chicago office of the IDHR is a very busy place and you don’t want your case to get lost in the shuffle. If you believe you are the victim of discrimination and the boss is treating you different at work, call my office to protect your rights.

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Koper Furniture, Inc. pays $40,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit. The retaliation was based on an employee complaining to management about discrimination based on color and then being fired. The lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“) on behalf of employee Jose Guadalupe. Usually in cases like this the EEOC tries to settle the case before filing a lawsuit but sometimes it takes the lawsuit to get the parties to settle.

For some unknown reasons many companies fire employees who complain about various types of discrimination. The smartest thing to do would be to investigate the claim and take action against the employee who is engaging in this type of conduct. I am baffled why the company always wants to shoot the messenger. But in the end, justice prevails and the company had to pay up.

“We are delighted that this resolution addresses the systemic problems at this workplace that facilitated the discriminatory misconduct,” said EEOC attorney Malcolm S. Medley.

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In Illinois it is a violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act to discrimination against an employee based on their color, ancestry or national origin. Many times a person being discriminated against will not know which of the three apply. There are many nuances to how a claim should be drafted to include all three. The reason for the care in drafting is to include all three claims so that the employer can’t escape liability.

It is too bad that companies still have employee that are the victims of discrimination but it will only stop when the companies spend more money on training and properly screen employees. In Illinois the number of discrimination cases seems to be rising and the employees are currently under siege. It is very important to speak with an employment attorney to protect your rights.

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My chicago offices gets many inquiries about the difference between racial discrimination and discrimination based on color. Even though there is an overlap between race and color they are not the same. Color discrimination can occur between persons of different races or ethnicities, or between persons of the same race or ethnicity. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“) and Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“) investigate color discrimination. It is interesting to note that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) does not define color but the the courts and the EEOC define color to have its commonly understood meaning – pigmentation, complexion, or skin shade or tone.

In short color discrimination occurs when a person is discriminated against based on the lightness, darkness, or other color characteristic of the person. Title VII prohibits color discrimination against all persons, including Caucasians. Many people don’t realize this nuance in the law but it does exist. When the IDHR or EEOC are investigating a claim of color discrimination, they utilize a different standard than the circuit or federal courts. They apply the same standard of proof to all race or color discrimination claims, regardless of the victim’s race or the type of evidence used.