How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Lucy, Esq. Your Own Question
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 29780
Experience:  Former judicial law clerk, lawyer
26798026
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Lucy, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

A coworker accused me of being racist and prejudice to a

Customer Question

A coworker accused me of being racist and prejudice to a contract worker and I have never made any statements or acted in that way. I have a black father in law, black daughter, mixed wife and another mixed daughter. How will this hold up with HR and if necessary legal action?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

If she has no witnesses to you making the alleged statements, that may work in your favor. HR will talk to you and the other person involved to try to get to the root of what happened. If they're trying to say you don't like black people, then it may help to have pictures of your family handy so you can show how ridiculous that statement is.

As far as legal action goes, it's defamation of character to make untrue statements against someone that harm your reputation. Telling everyone you made racist comments that you did not make cold fall within that category. You have the burden of proving she said you did that (if HR has records of a complaint or grievance process, or if anyone who overheard her statements, that would help). If you wind up losing your job (and I hope you don't), you may also have a case for intentional interference with employment. But you can get damages for defamation from small claims if anyone heard her comments and thought less of you.

Also, is this an ongoing issue with that particular co-worker? Hostile work environments based on someone's race don't have to be just the employee's race. if your co-worker is subjecting you to negative treatment because of the race of your wife and children, then that's discrimination and you may have a claim. The company, once they're aware of the behavior, is supposed to take steps to stop it. That may be something else to talk to HR about.

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have 2 contract workers that heard and said they would be witnesses to the statements she made against me. One of the witnesses is black himself
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
That's extremely helpful, then. If you sue, there is a strong likelihood that you would prevail, if you suffer any economic loss or other harm. The judge will be looking for any evidence that these hurtful comments damaged your reputation among people who heard them.