The owner of my company constantly talks poorly and discriminatorily about Muslims and Arabs. While I am not one of those, I do find it extremely offensive. Can he openly discriminate since we don’t employ anyone of that race or religion?
Rita Risser replies:
Of course your company doesn’t employ anyone of that race or religion! That’s discrimination in action. So any qualified applicants who were to learn of his discriminatory statements could sue. As to whether you can complain of a harassing environment, according to the EEOC, the conduct must be so objectively offensive as to alter the conditions of your employment. The conditions of employment are altered only if the harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment. In other words, if you find it very difficult to work in this situation, you might have a claim for a harassment. You could contact the local office of the EEOC, or your state fair employment or human rights departments, to get more information. Good luck.
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