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Race discrimination and racial harassment

Brenda is a clerk-typist at Armor Industries, Inc., and she works in an office with nine other clerk-typists. The supervisor of the office is Joe. Brenda is a light-complexion, African American woman; all of her fellow clerk-typists are Caucasians, and Joe is a dark-complexion African American. For the last several months, Joe has been saying things about Brenda in front of Brenda and her fellow clerk-typists that have embarrassed Brenda. The comments have included that Brenda does not look like a "real" African American because of her light complexion, while Joe is a "real" African American.

Brenda's fellow clerk-typists pretend that they have not heard these comments, but they have begun to avoid Brenda for fear that if they agree that the comments are inappropriate, Joe will retaliate against them. Though Brenda has more experience than any of the other clerk-typists in her office, when an opening for an assistant office manager becomes available, Joe promotes someone else in the office to the position. Is this an example of race discrimination or racial harassment? Why?

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Solution Preview

To answer this essay; you first must dissect the scenario. Beginning with Brenda, although in this scenario there have been some discriminatory conversation around the office about her, we do not have enough information to determine if the promotion was denied because of that. These ACTS help to combat discrimination in the workplace: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; and the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which, among other things, provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination.

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Solution Summary

Can the same race be guilty of racial harassment and discrimination? A discussion is provided in the solution.