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Employers should not need to hear audiotapes of bigots like Donald Sterling to believe racism still exists in the workplace

Sadly, unless people hear a tape of a bigot like LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling spewing hateful comments, some folks prefer to believe that racism is under control.  Donald Sterling paid over $22 million to settle claims of discrimination in housing practices for his apartments, but until this tape appeared, the NBA looked the other way.

Blatant racism is despicable.  Equally damaging to a person’s psyche and career are hidden biases.  Employers must remain vigilant about unspoken racism at the workplace and preferential treatment for white employees.  Too many times I’ve seen a case where a black employee is disciplined more harshly than a similarly situated white employee, or a qualified minority employee is overlooked for promotion.  While we’ve made strides against discrimination, it’s naive to think racism is on the run.  As US Attorney General Eric Holder said, “This presupposes that racial discrimination is at a sufficiently low ebb that it doesn’t need to be actively confronted.  In its most obvious forms, it might be. But discrimination does not always come in the form of a hateful epithet or a Jim Crow-like statute. And so we must continue to take account of racial inequality, especially in its less obvious forms, and actively discuss ways to combat it.”

Pamela A. Smith
Law Office of Pamela A. Smith
233 Needham Street, Suite 540
Newton, MA 02464


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