That sounds suspicious to me as well.
The real issue then is to weigh the likely benefits of pressing a race claim through the EEOC
. What the gist of your claim would be is that the company's policy's have a disparate impact on its black employees. These type of claims are hard to establish, when the impact is not widespread. I'm not saying its impossible, but it is not the strongest case. Even if you did uncover more evidence of racism within the company, you would have to go through the lengthy process of an EEOC claim and investigation (which can take 9 months or longer) before you are issued a "Right to Sue" letter. Once you have that letter, you may file a lawsuit in state or federal court to seek damages and penalties.
Of course, the lawsuit assumes that you will be able to convince a jury that the motivating factor was race. You would carry the burden of proof on this issue. Without more evidence than the disparate impact on you and the other black manager, the case is going to be difficult (again not impossible, but difficult).
They have put you under the gun to decide whether to sign the release and accept the severance, which is also suspicious to me.
So, in conclusion, you do have a potential claim based on the fact that only you and the other black manager were affected by the company's moves, with no other explanation as to why only you two were singled out. The company's actions thus had a disparate impact, if they were not outright based simply on race.
If you want to file a claim and waive the severance, the process could take a long time and there is not an assured winnable case here without more evidence of racism. To file, you would contact the local EEOC, which you can locate at www.eeoc.gov/field/ . They will instruct you further on the local procedures for filing a claim.
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