Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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How many employees does the employer (the company) have? More than 15?
So, you have said that many are afraid to address the issue. Does this mean that no one has reported these issues to HR?
Ok. The reason that I asked about that is because, if HR isn't given the chance to cure the issue, they can claim that as a defense.
Here though, you have expressed that HR was aware and has done nothing. Therefore, you can go straight to the EEOC.
Now, there are laws that protect you from retaliation when making an EEOC complaint. The problem is that law is slow. You have to go with the understanding that you can face retaliation if the employer wants to behave stupidly and it may be some time before that retaliation is addressed by the EEOC or a court. You could even be fired, which would be illegal, and it will not be a quick resolution.
That being said, if the company is smart, they will recognize that they would be increasing the power of the EEOC claims by retaliating.
Every person that goes to the EEOC faces that same situation, that the law works slowly.
I can't speak for your personal situation. Either you want to pursue the avenue of litigation or you do not. I won't lie to you and tell you that it is a rewarding experience. It's not. It's actually pretty horrible, even when you win.
But it is a form of justice and those that go through it typically feel that their voice was at least heard.
If you're going to find another opportunity, then actually suing is easier because you'll be out from under their thumb. Then you could file your EEOC complaint, work with them, but be in a different work environment. Staying where you work while you are in the midst of an EEOC complaint is hard, but that is actually what happens most of the time.
I'm always in favor of pushing the employer, but it's easy for me because I don't have to work there with them. This is a person choice. I can just tell you what is available.
I will tell you that this person's personal connections will mean very little to the EEOC. They love their "giant killer" role.
Harassment doesn't legally mean anything in employment law. It is not it's own claim.
Harassment is just a version of some actual form of discrimination, so this could be considered race discrimination as demonstrated by harassment.
If there was no racial motivation, the harassment wouldn't actually be illegal according to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Your choices are either to remain silent or to go to the EEOC to complain of what you perceive to be discrimination based on your race. They will investigate and ultimately provide you a "right to sue" letter and their investigation evidence, which will entice an attorney to take your claim up to state or federal court.