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The Practical Employer

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This Week in Racism

Employers must be vigilant in rooting out, and stopping, racist speech in the workplace, or face the consequences of potentially damaging, and expensive, discrimination lawsuits.

May 19, 2014
Related Topics: Diversity, Discrimination and EEOC Compliance, Ethics, Legal, Staffing Management, Workplace Culture
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If you’re a public figure and you’re caught calling the President “that f—king n-----,” do you:

  1. Apologize profusely in a vain effort to save your job, or
  2. Say, “I believe I did use the ‘N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse. For this, I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”

If you’re Robert Copeland, the 82-year-old police commissioner of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, the answer, sadly, is the latter.

According to CNN, the town is powerless to remove Copeland, who is adamant that he will not resign.

So, if you’re an employer, and one of your managers acts akin to Copeland, what do you do? After reading my blog for the past seven years, I hope you know that the only possible answer is to fire Copeland. You cannot have a manager going around spouting off racist nonsense. We've lately seen a lot of old, white men spewing racist stuff (see Donald Sterling). Employers must be vigilant in rooting out, and stopping, these attitudes in the workplace, or face the consequences of potentially damaging, and expensive, discrimination lawsuits.

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