A Kantola Learning Minute

A manager asks, "Can an employee be fired for being a racist?" As with many things in the workplace, it's complicated. Learn more in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

Hi, I'm Linda Garrett with a Kantola Learning Minute. The viewer writes, "Can an employee be fired for being a racist?"

This is really a tough question, and the courts are coming in with different opinions all the time. Here's the thing: If being a racist manifests itself by harassing or discriminatory behavior in your workplace against co-workers or subordinates, then, of course, you can act and of course you know what you would need to do to stop the behavior thats causing the problem.

But if the person attended a white supremacist rally one time and that became known in the workplace, your response and your reaction would be different. The difficulty is is that when you have this issue in front of you, it's dangerous to take no action, but sometimes it can be risky to take action as well, because there's no clear pathway of the right and wrong thing to do.

So what I'd suggest is this: Make sure that you have very good documentation of what's happened within the walls of your workplace. Be sure you have very good documentation of the complaint you've received. And then, use your chain of command to get help with it, because as we said before, not acting can be risky as well as acting, and you want to make sure you're on firm ground when you do decide what you need to do.
I hope this has been helpful. Thanks for attending.

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