Many Different Actions May Constitute Race Discrimination

Despite advances in race relations, unfortunately work place discrimination and harassment continues to exist throughout the country. A recent case evaluated the situation of a white worker who alleged he was fired because he was engaged to a black woman. In Matusick v. Erie Cnty. Water Authority, the man – Scott Matusick – was engaged to Anita Starks. After being fired from his job, he filed claims of harassment and violations of his First Amendment right of intimate association.

In its review, the court noted that while no bright line test exists determining exactly which romantic relationships the First Amendment protects right of intimate association – committed relationships such as here where the individuals are engaged should qualify. The court explained, “[T]o the extent that a relationship of betrothal constitutes an expression of one’s choice of marital partner, it shares the qualities ascribed by the Roberts court to marriage and other protected forms of intimate association,” Judge Robert D. Sack wrote. “We therefore conclude that Matusick’s betrothal to Starks fulfilled the standards set out in Roberts and is entitled to protection similar to those that marital relationships enjoy under the right to intimate association.”

The court further noted that the man’s right to “intimate association” was violated in this case, given evidence that the Erie County Water Authority was aware of Matusick’s relationship with Starks and the public employer’s lack of any legitimate interest in interfering with that relationship.

If you believe you may have experienced any type of discrimination at work, it is crucial to consult with a dedicated Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer right away.

This case represents just one example of types of race based discrimination and harassment at work. Although in some instances acts of racial discrimination are obvious, other forms of discriminatory actions include more subtle practices such as the use of derogatory racial jokes by co-employees without knowledge of company management.

Further sophisticated employers often engage in race discrimination through subtle practices that tend to screen out minority applicants and employees, such as job and intelligence tests, appearance and dress codes, English-only rules, relying on arrest records in making employment decisions, and discriminatory recruiting practices.

The race discrimination laws also prohibit your employer from retaliating against you for complaining about race discrimination or participating in someone else’s race discrimination case.

The bottom line – if you feel your employer has discriminated against you based on your race or has taken race into any employment decision, it is critical to contact an experienced Georgia race discrimination lawyer right away. For more information, call Atlanta’s dedicated employee’s rights attorneys at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP right away.