Here’s a little story…well…nightmare that we hope will inspire you to make some adjustments in 2020 instead of keeping you up at night!

Just recently, down in San Antonia, Texas, a popular resort paid over $2.5 million to settle a national origin discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC. 

The culprits? The resort’s untrained new managers.

The lawsuit alleged the following:

  • The resort violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by subjecting Hispanic banquet staff to a hostile work environment based on their national origin and by retaliating against workers who opposed a language policy.

  • New managers sub­jected at least 25 Hispanic banquet employees to verbal abuse and mistreatment because the managers implemented a policy forbidding banquet staff from speaking Spanish anytime and anywhere in the resort.

  • One manager referred to Spanish as “a foul language” and used derogatory terms when referring to Hispanics.

  • When banquet employees raised concerns, the resort demoted some employees, fired some employees and replaced them with non-Hispanic employees.

What’s the moral of the story?

Train your managers; do not assume that they know how to manage people effectively and understand the legal risks of their actions and decisions. Make sure that all managers are properly trained on how to manage a diverse staff and on what conduct may be perceived as discriminatory or retaliatory. Also, before you implement a new policy, make sure that it is vetted by an HR professional and legal counsel to ensure that it is not discriminatory or has a discriminatory impact on your workforce. Because managers act as an extension of the business, when they mess up,  the business is usually left paying the fine.

Need a screenshot of your current risk?

One great way to find out where you might be exposed to risks and fines is monocleHR’s Strategy in a Nutshell Consultation.  For more information on this consultation, read more HERE.