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Is this Harassment?

May 13, 2024

Is this Harassment?

You have an employee who is multiracial (Asian, Black, and Pacific Islander). 

Some coworkers jokingly refer to the employee as a mutt. Other co-workers give the employee “compliments” by saying she looks exotic, like Moana and that she inherited the “best traits,” because she is strong (Pacific Islander), athletic (black) and smart/articulate (Asian).

The employee doesn’t seem to mind and does not object to the comments, and because of this, you (the business owner) do nothing. 

Is the company exposing itself to legal liability? 

The EEOC recently issued Enforcement Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace (April 29, 2024) and said yes. Businesses have certain obligations to protect employees from discrimination, harassment and retaliation. 

Even though the employee “doesn’t seem to mind” what happens when her performance declines and the company needs to demote or terminate the employee?

Employment lawyers help businesses navigate tricky employee issues, comply with the law and avoid legal liability. 

If you are a CEO, HR or business owner in Florida, contact an employment lawyer to help make sure the business is complying with the employment laws and limiting lawsuits by its employees. 

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