Employment law in North Carolina is complicated, and it isn’t always easy for employers to know when they are adhering to the law, especially when employer policies and the laws change. A relatively new area of employment law involves initiatives known as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I). These are employer-led initiatives that are meant to prevent discrimination. However, DE&I’s adherence, implementation and impact people are leading to lawsuits. For workers who believe their rights have been violated, two recent cases may enhance clarity.
Recent discrimination cases
Two employment discrimination cases, one in North Carolina and one in Georgia, centered on DE&I, with former executives lodging complaints. The North Carolina case was decided in favor of the plaintiff. The man – who is white – asserted that his employer in the health field wrongfully terminated him in part due to his gender and race in 2018. It was based on statistics that show white employees declining by nearly 6% from 2016 to 2019. There was a corresponding increase in minority employees and females. The man alleged his termination was for no reason other than to improve diversity at the company.
In the recently filed Georgia case, a man who was an assistant vice president at AT&T claims that he was discriminated against for his age, race and gender. He had worked at the company for two decades, but was dismissed because, he says, the company was focusing on diversity. Emails from the chief executive officer were cited as proof as they discussed statistics about workplace demographics and where the company needed to improve in DE&I. According to the former employee, nine other workers who were like him in age, race and gender were also terminated.
Having help is imperative
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and laws against age discrimination are supposed to protect everyone. When employment discrimination is believed to have taken place, it is wise to know the available avenues to fight back. This can include financial compensation, getting reinstated and other remedies. For advice with these complex challenges, it is useful to consult with those experienced in these cases from the outset.