A company that responded to a racial harassment complaint with 10 minutes of training must now go to trial to try to prove it took appropriate remedial action. That was the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in December 2015.
The case was brought by Ms. Shawron Lounds, an African American employee, who was hired by Ms. Kraft as a customer-service representative in September 2011. On her first day of work, Ms. Lounds was called “Shaquita” and “Shaniqua” by Ms. Kraft, who told other employees Ms. Lounds’ name was “Shaniqua or Shanay or something.” A month later, Ms. Kraft told Ms. Lounds that she “imagined” that a customer on the phone “by the sounds of his voice” was “a big African American man,” and told Ms. Lounds to “get ghetto with him.” (It later turned out the customer was white.)
The next month, Ms. Lounds came upon some co-workers discussing a recent event in the news involving an African American man. One of her co-workers, Mr. Kunz, said “we need to bring back lynching.” According to Ms. Lounds, Mr. Kunz later attempted to clarify that he was “not racist, and there was nothing wrong with lynching,” before he approached her to say, “I’m not trying to offend you