Polish Jokes Not That Funny

A recent EEOC lawsuit is a reminder that teasing an employee about their ancestry may constitute national origin discrimination. In the EEOC’s complaint against Rhino Eastern, a mining company, the EEOC alleged that supervisors and other employees subjected a Polish employee to degrading and humiliating comments, taunts and slurs based on his Polish ancestry. When the employee complained, the employer failed to prevent or correct the harassment and then fired the employee, allegedly for pretextual reasons. Employers need not maintain a humor free workplace, but jokes and teasing based on national origin (or any other protected classification) may be less amusing when accompanied by a lawsuit.   More information about the EEOC’s lawsuit may be found here: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/9-30-14f.cfm


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