Employees allege racial discrimination at California company

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California prioritizes the right to work and be free of discrimination, and Californians have more explicit rights in the workplace than most other Americans. Challenges still remain, and many members of racial minorities face them every day.

An alternative energy company is facing lawsuits in Sacramento Superior Court after two of its employees reported harassment and a culture of discrimination. One of the employees described a manager using a racial slur and other co-workers singling him out as an African-American.

In a graphic example of inappropriate workplace behavior, workers and supervisors apparently built a cardboard fort emblazoned with the words “white only.” The plaintiff also recounted an incident involving a supervisor offering him a banana while saying “monkeys like bananas.”

The plaintiff said his concerns were ignored and he was told not to go to human resources for a resolution. A separate lawsuit by a white employee alleges the same behaviors, describing them as “reckless, malicious and despicable” and part of a “hostile, racist” work environment.

The chief executive of the company stated that one employee had been dismissed and several others have been disciplined in connection to the incident. Harassment training will also be required in the future, but this is not sufficient to repair the personal and career harm done by these incidents.

Victims of racial discrimination in the workplace may sue for financial damages, reinstatement or guarantees to end a culture of harassment in a hostile work environment. An attorney may help victims deal with evidence, negotiations, settlements and jury verdicts delivered in a civil court.