Workplace discrimination.

I am the only African American assistant at my office and have been placed under a new manager. I was told that I needed to move to a new space to be closer to the new manager. So I asked to get my cubicle reconfigured for my comfort and productivity and I was told straight out no. That there was no money for any electrical work to be done to reconfigure the cubicle and that there were no resources to move file cabinets around. But there is no electrical work that needs to be done, there are plugs all along the wall in the new cubicle and we have an onsite facilities department that handles all office moves to move file cabinets. So in the same week that I was told no, another guy, white guy, with the same title as me was able to get his office space set up exactly how he wanted it.

Oakland, CA -

Attorney Answers (2)

Neil Pedersen

Neil Pedersen

Employment / Labor Attorney - Irvine, CA
Answered

You may well have been subjected to race discrimination. The issue will be proof. Without more, it is unlikely you can prove that the decision was race-based. However, your bigger issue will be damages. I know being subjected to discrimination is offensive. I do not mean to minimize the distress caused by the feeling of being treated differently because of your race. However, when people are faced with discrimination, the practical issue is how to deal with it. It is unlikely you have enough in the way of damages to make a case. That said, if you feel strongly about it, you should report the discriminatory conduct to HR, or the part of the company that investigates workplace discrimination and harassment. Only by reporting do you give the company the ability to protect you against the discrimination.

If the discriminatory conduct leads to loss of promotion, loss of opportunities, or other tangible losses, contact an attorney. In the mean time, keep a journal of any inappropriate conduct or language that would support a claim that your supervisor maintains an discriminatory attitude.

Good luck to you.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed... more
Alan James Brinkmeier

Alan James Brinkmeier

Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney - Chicago, IL
Answered

You do not say how you believe your racial orientation played any role in the "non reconfiguration". Any decision that is race neutral is not discriminatory.

Further, how do you know whether the other employee you mention made any demands for an office set up? You do not say.

You may have a cause of action, but you most surely will need more and better facts.

Good luck in your new position.

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