After multiple incidents of African-American patrons having the police called on them at various Starbucks, the company took a day off from business to offer its employees “implicit bias training.” Implicit bias training is a controversial method of making individuals aware of their ingrained biases, prejudices, and negative reactions to others.
The program, while notable because of Starbucks, has been used by corporate giants such as Google and Facebook for years. The aim of the program is to improve relationships between people of different races, sexes, ages, religions, and economic backgrounds, and hopefully, prevent sexual and racial discrimination lawsuits.
While some are enthusiastic about the program, others feel as if it is not having the hoped-for effect. Early indicators seem to show that it has not had a major impact on workplace diversity. At the same time, critics say that it normalizes discrimination in the workplace. Others say that it puts employees on the defensive and makes them feel as though they are being accused of racism or sexism.
Race and Gender Discrimination Persist Despite Measures
Despite numerous laws that protect workers based on race, sex, religion, nation of origin, age, and disability, some workers still find themselves being discriminated against in the workplace. Often, when individuals report workplace discrimination to human resource departments, they are themselves targeted for retaliation. This is also illegal.
Nonetheless, after an employee is demoted or fired, the burden shifts to that employee to prove that the firing was the result of an illegal bias. That requires hiring a lawyer and suing the former employer. In the midst of this, the employee must prove that the employer’s motivating factor for terminating his or her employment, refusing a promotion, or enforcing a demotion was based on racial bias alone.
In lawsuits such as these, the employer will always list some other pretense, usually poor work performance, as the reason for letting the individual go. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff in these cases to prove that the pretense was false and that discrimination was the most likely cause of the termination.
EEOC Report Indicates that Preventing Discrimination Helps Businesses
An EEOC reports released before the #MeToo movement rippled across social media states that there are several advantages to running a business that is free of the various forms of illegal discrimination. Employees tend to be more productive and loyal to companies at which they feel comfortable. Companies that are hit with discrimination lawsuits often suffer problems with recruitment and endanger their reputation.
The EEOC report further suggested that the issue may be cultural and that it should be treated as a cultural issue. That means executives at the highest levels and HR departments holding managers and employees accountable for discrimination.
For a workplace discrimination lawsuit to succeed in court, the plaintiff must show that the behavior persisted even after the plaintiff reported it. In other words, companies can save themselves a lot of headaches (and money) simply by enforcing modern ethical standards and the law.
If you have been discriminated against in the workplace, contact HKM Employment Attorneys of Kansas City and we will help you get justice.