Wednesday, May 17, 2006

DAMN! This Is Just Sooooo Wrong!

Fourth Circuit OKs Firing Worker Who Reported That Co-Worker Referred to African-Americans as “Black Monkeys” (Whole Article Here)

While a group of workers watched a breaking news story on the office TV, one employee known for making similar comments blurted out, “They should put those two black monkeys in a cage with a bunch of black apes and let the apes f**k them.” Last Friday, May 12, a divided Fourth Circuit panel concluded that there’s nothing illegal about firing an employee for reporting such racially inflammatory remarks to supervisors. Republican appointees Paul Niemeyer (Bush I) and H. Emory Widener (Nixon) joined in the majority over a sharp dissent by Clinton appointee Robert King, who simply could not fathom a ruling so manifestly contrary to federal anti-discrimination law and the public policy goals underlying it.

In October 2002, Robert Jordan, an African-American employee at an IBM office in Montgomery County, Maryland, stood with co-workers watching television reports of the capture of two men suspected of being the notorious Washington, D.C. area snipers. After hearing the news, Jordan’s coworker, Jay Farjah, uttered the “black monkey” comment. Offended, Jordan discussed the remark with two other co-workers, each of whom revealed that Farjah had made similar remarks before. Pursuant to IBM’s mandatory anti-harassment policy, Jordan quickly reported Farjah’s behavior to his supervisors. How did they respond? Within a month’s time, they changed Jordan’s shift so that he could no longer pick up his son from school, made a crude remark toward him at a holiday party and then, despite his four years of service to the company, fired him.

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