In February 2020, John Aldi was fired from his position as a manager in the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) after sending an e-mail that contained a racial slur to his employees. One anonymous employee sent the e-mail to a TV station, which eventually resulted in the firing of the manager. However, not every situation of alleged racial discrimination will be settled so relatively simply. If you believe that you have been discriminated against on that basis, contact the law firm of Hitchcock & Potts to discuss your options.
There are quite a few myths and misconceptions about the nature of racial discrimination lawsuits. One is that allegedly discriminatory conduct must necessarily be overt, loud, or hostile, when in reality, any negative conduct based on a protected characteristic might fit the bill (depending on the specific situation). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines race discrimination as treating someone unfairly based on actual or perceived race. In other words, one does not actually have to be a person of color to face racial discrimination.
Another common myth regarding race discrimination in the workplace is that it must involve malice. This is simply not the case—discriminatory conduct can be malicious, but it may also be negligent or reckless, with no intent to injure or create any kind of hostile work environment. However, the intention is almost beside the point. The effect is what matters, and if an employee can show that they have experienced unfair treatment based on race or color, the employer will be on the proverbial hook.
De Facto Discrimination
Many employers are not aware of the fact that discrimination is unlawful even if it is not codified into institutional policy. The law recognizes two types of discrimination. De jure discrimination is discrimination based in the rules or laws, of which the entire “Jim Crow” system of segregation laws is an example. De facto discrimination happens when a law or policy does not openly advocate a discriminatory policy, but discrimination happens anyway. Both types of discrimination are considered unlawful under Title VII. This used to not to be the case, but Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was amended in the 1990s to restrict any form of discrimination that is based on protected characteristics.
If you suspect that you have been mistreated based on your race or color, or your perceived race or color, you have options. You may be able to handle any issues by contacting your Human Resources department, or seeking other avenues within your company. However, if these are not successful, the EEOC may be the next step. That said, contacting the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission (SCHAC) or the EEOC should only be done after you have spoken to an experienced employment discrimination lawyer.
Contact A South Carolina Employment Discrimination Attorney
Being discriminated against because of a characteristic that you cannot control is not something one should ever have to accept. However, seeking justice isn’t always as easy as how the South Carolina Department of Corrections manager was fired after sending an alleged racist email. If you have been mistreated based on race or color, contact a South Carolina employment discrimination lawyer at the firm of Hitchcock & Potts. Attorney A. Christopher Potts is well versed in these types of cases and is happy to help you with yours. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.