Disney World is generally associated with happiness and great memories for those who visit, but it may not always be as wonderful for its employees. A black woman who worked at the Florida theme park is alleging that she was the victim of racial discrimination. The plaintiff worked as a contract administrator for the company from 2012 to early 2014. Some of her duties included making photocopies, attending to guests and answering the telephone.
While it shouldn't be the case in 2013, the sad reality is that racism is still alive and well in America. Few places is this more apparent than in the workplace. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 barred employers from engaging in race discrimination, but how far do these employee protections extend?
South Florida is home to a diverse mix of people and cultures. While this provides a great opportunity for personal growth and a chance to expand one's horizons, this cultural melting pot can sometimes create problems in the workplace.
When it comes to employment law, the exact company title and practical position of the players in any given case make a difference in the case's ultimate outcome. For example, some laws protecting workers from sexual harassment and discrimination of all kinds only apply when a direct supervisor is committing the offending acts. The United States Supreme Court recently heard arguments in a case centering on the question "Who is a supervisor" for the purposes of employment law cases.
When most Americans think about the concept of segregation, they immediately connect it with the civil rights movement and the ways in which minorities in America have been treated in the past. Though discrimination does exist today, surely it cannot rise to the level of segregation, we assume.
Big things are happening at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This agency, which is tasked with helping to create, refine and enforce the nation's federal workplace anti-discrimination laws and regulations, is currently employing what the Associated Press calls "a systemic strategy to bring more large-scale bias cases against prominent companies."
The Olympians dominating the news this past week have had their abilities scrutinized, critiqued and tested for all the world to see as they race, perform and compete their way toward gold. However, it is not only athletes who must have their abilities tested in order to reach significant goals. Students, professionals and average employees alike are often tested before they may advance to the next level of their given pursuits.
When harassment and discrimination occur in the workplace, it is not always easy to pinpoint who should be held accountable for the illegal behavior. In most cases, it is against the law for employers, not individual non-supervisory employees, to engage in workplace discrimination. However, it can be difficult to determine who an "employer" or who a "supervisor" actually is in a complex business situation.
The prevalence of discrimination in the workplace may lead employees to conceal personal characteristics that could become targets of discrimination. However, the behaviors embraced by those workers most concerned about being discriminated against may be inspiring higher rates of race, religion and national origin discrimination, among others, rather than lowering them.
Fans of the now-defunct TV series "Seinfeld" may remember a much-loved episode where Jerry's dentist converts to Judaism. After only a few conversations with him, Jerry begins to suspect that the man converted "just for the jokes." That is, so he could make jokes about Jewish people without being called anti-Semitic or insensitive.