In the retail workplace, employees are often told, “the customer is always right,” but when a customer is clearly wrong, and makes a request in violation with federal laws and the company’s “diversity and core values,” is the company obligated to obey? The answer is no, as one manager learned following a racial discrimination incident that occurred last week at a Lowe’s home improvement store in Virginia.
The incident occurred when a black delivery man, en route to make a delivery, was called back to the store after a customer stated that she did not want a black delivery person. The employee returned to the store and was replaced with a white worker to make the delivery.
The delivery man has worked for Lowe’s for over a decade. When asked whether he intends to stay with the company, he said, “I gotta work…I’m going to keep going to work like I’ve always done. But I would think Lowe’s would take into consideration to think about what they’re doing next time.” Lowe’s upper management agreed, as the manager who told the black driver to return to the store was subsequently released following the incident.
In the United States, employees are protected against race discrimination from the federally mandated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees from failing to be hired, disciplined or receiving lower wages, benefits, promotions or opportunities on the grounds of his or her race. Many states, including New York, also have laws in place to protect workers from discrimination due to their race. If you believe you have been a victim of race discrimination, it may be wise to seek the advice of an attorney familiar with employment law to protect your job and determine whether you may be entitled to compensation for the incident.
Source: fox8live.com, “Black Lowe’s driver says he was kept from making delivery,” Aug. 6, 2015