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An Employee Calling a Supervisor Racist for Criticizing Their Work More than Employees of Other Races Can Constitute Protect Activity

In the case of Brown v. Corr. Reception Ctr.., 10th Dist. Franklin No. 19AP-104, 2020-Ohio-684, an Ohio appellate court held that an employee calling their supervisor a racist for criticizing the employee’s work more than the work of employees of other races can constitute a protected activity.

In this case, an employee called the employee’s supervisor a racist for nit-picking the employee’s work more than employees of another race. After being called a racist, the supervisor told the employee that security would escort the employee out unless the employee left on her own. The employee sued for racial discrimination and retaliation. In response, the employer argued that the employee did not engage in a protected activity and that the employee was not fired.

The Ohio appellate court held that an employee calling a supervisor racist for criticizing the employee’s work more than employees of other races can constitute protected activity because the charge of racism was not vague and could be seen as taking an overt stand against illegal workplace discrimination. The Ohio appellate court further held that a supervisor telling an employee that security would escort the employee out unless the employee left on their own could be reasonably viewed as termination because of the power relationship.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always changing like the Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

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