Archive January 2019

Racial Discrimination in the Workplace


In the current world of changing times, organizations and other profit-making companies are striving to remain at the top of the very competitive market. The firms are doing this by ensuring that they get updated with the current events in their field and fully satisfy their customers. Despite the knowledge that human resource is the most important department in any business, some companies have resorted to restructuring their personnel to eliminate those workers they consider not useful in their efforts of attaining their set goals (Tanja et al. 92-95). In doing this, these organizations have gotten accused of using unorthodox means to select the employees to leave them when the need for restructuring arises. Some of the mechanisms they use include the age of the employee, the race, and background of the worker and competence and skills. Experts in the human resource department have criticized these techniques by arguing that they are discriminative. This essay will discuss one case where workers accused a company they worked for of racially discriminating against them. It will explain the incident, highlight why the petitioners felt neglected or racially discriminated and how they can get compensated as well as how this can get prevented from reoccurring in the future

The Incident

On September 7, 2017, USNews reported that a U.S construction company in the name of JL Schwieters Construction operating in Hugo, Minnesota was ordered to settle its two former workers by paying them a sum of $125,000 (The Associated Press Par.2). JL Schwieters is supply, building and Construction Company based in Minnesota and has employed a lot of workers. The reason for this was the fact that the employees had taken the company to court and accused it of racially discriminating against them when they were working for the company. The petitioners in the case argued that during their time in the business, they got subjected to racial discrimination by being subjected to an unfriendly work setting including threats and abuse because they were blacks. They also posited that during their employment with the company where they worked as carpenters, the supervisor would call them derogatory names pointing to their skin color. Dion Pye and Willie Staple also argued that the white supervisor threatened to hang them using a noose made out of an electrical wire (The Associated Press Par.3). This case shows that black-Americans still experience problems of racially getting discriminated in U.S. Racial discrimination in employment is also rife in the country and affects many people. The judge, in this case, ordered the company to settle the workers by paying damages up to the tune of over 125,000 USD. It argued in its order that the organization should train all its workers (supervisors and employees) on federal harassment and discrimination laws governing their operations in the country. Therefore, from this incident, one can see that the issue of racial discrimination has not been dealt with entirely in the U.S. labor market.

Why the Employees Felt the Company treated them unfairly

In the case, Dion Pye and Willie Staple strongly felt that their mistreatment by the supervisor was purely based on their race or skin complexion. For instance, they said that the manager used to refer to them using derogatory names some of which could be interpreted to relate to their skin color. He in several occasions threatened the workers of death by hanging, a fact that made their working in the company untenable. Ideally, one needs a very conducive and stable environment to be able to discharge his or her duties efficiently. That was not the case in the organization since the two employees worked under intense pressure, intimidation, threats, and abuse from the white supervisor. The manager would, for instance, threaten them of hanging if they did not work as he pleased. Such actions made them feel unwanted by getting mistreated. Also, the fact that the judge ordered the company to pay them damages of thousands of dollars means that he got convinced that the supervisor did commit an offence of mistreatment.

Were the Employees being Treated Unfairly?

In my honest opinion, the two employees were maltreated by the supervisor and the primary basis being their race. The first reason as to why I believe so is because of my own experiences in the workplace. Most black-Americans in the place where I work have complained continuously about harassment and discrimination by their white counterparts. Secondly, the supervisor intimidates the workers by issuing constant threats to them, a fact that might have led to their leaving. Third, the judge got convinced that the two workers got racially discriminated and in this case, I trust that he considered all the available evidence before him (The Associated Press Par. 4-5). The fact that he ordered for their resettlement by the organization means that they deserved compensation for their maltreatment. Finally, the 20th century America has witnessed several cases of racial discrimination when it comes to employment practices and only most human resource departments have gotten sensitized on the need to be inclusive and follow the stricter regulations laid down to fight the vice. Therefore, I believe that the treatment of the two workers by the firm’ supervisor was unfair.

How to compensate them

The judge has already found out mechanisms to compensate the workers for the discrimination as laid down by the applicable laws. For instance, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission follows the set down rules and regulations to rule on cases related to racism or any other form of discrimination. In this case, since the commission found the company culpable, it deems it fit to award the two workers a sum of $125,000 as damages. I think the company should also be compelled to apologize to them in efforts to heal the rift. In future, stricter laws against racial discrimination need to be put in place to ensure that companies like JL Schwieters desist from racially discriminating against their workers.

Preventing the Problem from Re-Occurring

With the proper restructuring of the company’s management, it will be able to avoid cases like this from reoccurring in the future. As already stated above, strict adherence to the laws and regulations governing the conduct of firms will cut down on the occurrence of such issues. Additionally, the council should also find mechanisms to ensure that all companies operating in the U.S. train their managers and workers on federal harassment and discrimination laws as this will help in preventing the reoccurrence of cases like this one.


Some decisions made by companies may be received negatively by the people affected and even by the other employees. Such actions could deal a significant blow to the company. For instance, mistreating workers based on their race does not add any value to a company but instead, results in repercussions like lawsuits and subsequent fines. Therefore, companies should do their research well before taking a significant step. Leaders should thus avoid any discrimination as this could cost the company a lot.