Many Maryland residents know that Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against an employee covered by a protected class. Race is one example of a protected class. Therefore, employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits or performance of individuals in a particular racial group is against the law. However, in recent news, Coca-Cola Co. is being sued by minority workers for alleged racial discrimination.
The suit was filed on behalf of 16 current and former African American and Hispanic workers. The plaintiffs claim that they have dealt with poor work assignments, inconvenient working hours, and discriminatory retaliation.
The minority workers say that Coca-Cola assigned them to undesirable and physically hazardous employment positions. Furthermore, their tasks with the company have been outside of their job descriptions. In addition, minority truck drivers have had their hours reduced. They have also been prevented from working overtime; nevertheless, white drivers do not experience these limitations.
According to reports, minority workers say that those that have complained of the terrible working conditions have faced discriminatory retaliation.
Within the lawsuit, the minority workers seek compensatory, emotional and punitive damages. Furthermore, they hope to be reimbursed for lost compensation, front and back pay and attorneys' fees.
Coca-Cola has supposedly conducted an internal investigation. The company claims that it has not discovered racial workplace discrimination.
Nevertheless, the plaintiffs' attorney indicates that this hostile work environment exists, and it is "clearly something that needs to be addressed."
Source: Business Insurance, "Coca-Cola unit sued for alleged racial discrimination," Judy Greenwald, March 19, 2012