After a years long ordeal, a client of ours has recently reached a confidential settlement with her fomer employers following legal action concerning allegations of years of racial and gender discrimination. Our client alleges her immediate superiors created a discriminatory and patronizing work environment, as she was passed up again and again for promotion despite a record of going above and beyond what was required in her nearly ten years with the company.
In spite of her position as the head of her department, client alleges that her colleagues and superiors often regarded her with condescension, treating her without the respect her position deserved. She alleges that one supervisor in particular would denigrate her, and fellow black female co-workers, with mocking gestures.
As part of her allegations, client cites that she and other female colleagues were constantly patronized by their superiors; who advised them "not to become emotional" when speaking with clients— male colleagues were not offered the same advice. One supervisor allegedly complained that our client "wore her emotions on her sleeve," and said
When she spoke with a company HR representative about racial and gender discrimination, this representative recalled times he himself had faced discrimination and informed our client that this was "just the way things are." Naturallly, our client found this response unacceptable and pursued the complaint to the highest level available.
Our client alleges that her direct superiors were responsible for perpetuating a "good old boys club" in the office, encouraging morale boosting activites that excluded female co-workers and increasing camaraderie among a select group of office males. This exclusion was accompanied with an attitude of superiority that permeated the interactions between our client and her managers.
Our client alleges that she was consistently saddled with administrative work that fell well below her pay grade, work that kept her from the more important duty of running her department. She was often required to handle projects and responsibilites that fell beyond the scope of her position, to the point where she held the de facto responsibilities of the position just above her, but with about three quarters the salary. This extra work, she claims, not only kept her from her chief duties, but also kept her from seeking the promotional opportunities that became available to her male colleagues.
One colleague in particular, was promoted to the title directly above her, despite being new to the company. When she went to a superior to inquire if she was doing everything possible to become eligible for promotion, this superior dismissed our client with an extravagant request.
When her HR complaint became public knowledge, many subordinates and office workers spoke up about discriminatory practices they had noticed in the past.
In reponse to the complaint, the HR dept. recommended that our clients' salary be raised to a level commensurate with the new executive. By the time management did recommend a raise, the number was still more than ten thousand dollars below what the new executive was earning.
In this hostile climate, our client saw no other option than to quit her job, seeking both legal and psychological counsel as a result of this ordeal. Fortunately, she contacted us in time to seek damages against her former employer, and was able to reach an out of court settlement to cover lost income and not insignificant personal suffering.