What canI do about racial remark made in the workplace?

I am a 27 year-old African American. I work as a line cook in a restaurant and I was referred to as a “monkey” by the quality assurance manager. He often travels for the company. Shortly after complaining about the remark my work days went from 5 to 2; then I was taken off the schedule with no explanation. What are my rights? Should I speak to an employment law attorney? I’m in Cochise, AZ.

Asked on July 22, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Definitely speak with an employment attorney, since you have a claim or a case. Racial harassment (such as derogatory or insulting remarks) and racial discrimination (such as giving a minority employee fewer hours, less pay, etc., or firing him or her, because of his or her race) are both prohibited under the law. An employer-the restaurant--is responsible for the remarks and actions of its employees, including managers. While an attorney needs to evaluate the circumstances in more detail or depth to provide a definitive recommendation as to what to do, from what you right, it's worth having that conversation with a lawyer--you may be experiencing employment racial discrimination and/or harassment. Good luck.

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