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Can my employer be sued if an employee who racially offend me is not terminated?

Portland, OR |

my co worker has made a racial remark via a group chat all the coworkers were apart of. I made a complaint to management and they have launched an investigation. My district manager wants me to "forgive" and sweep under the rug. The employee is unapologetic says it was just a joke. Now no one talks to me at work, we are being forced to still work together after I expressed I don't feel mentally or emotionally safe with a person who thinks her actions were ok.

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

Your employer has a duty to ensure that your workplace is free from harassment based on protected categories, such as race. This doesn't necessarily mean immediately firing any employee who makes a racist remark. The first step is usually talking to that employee, taking appropriate disciplinary measures, which may be private. If problems persist, then you should bring them to the employer's attention, and, if no steps are taken to address them, consult with an attorney. But just keeping the employee, without that employee's actually doing anything specific, would probably not create any cause of action.

As far as your co-workers not wanting to talk to you anymore - I'm afraid that's one of the consequences, sometimes, of complaining about one's fellow workers.. They may react this way because they're ashamed, or it may be because they're afraid that, if you'd complain about that one person's behavior, you'd do the same to any of them - or it may be the way you talk about the matter more generally. But in any case, the law is powerless to change it.

Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. No posts or comments on this site are in any way confidential. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br> Jay Bodzin, Northwest Law Office, 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J, Portland, OR 97201 | Telephone: 503-227-0965 | Facsimile: 503-345-0926 | Email: jay@northwestlawoffice.com | Online: www.northwestlawoffice.com

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5 lawyers agree

Posted

NOT LIKELY.
You've shown nothing to sue employer over.

THIS ANSWER IS PURELY FOR ACADEMIC DISCUSSION ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ANY TYPE OF LEGAL ADVICE OR LEGAL REPRESENTATION.

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