Recently, a former San Diego State University employee sued the school for employment discrimination based on her race and religion. The plaintiff worked for SDSU for about five years, during which she alleges she was subjected to illegal comments about being a devoutly Christian Black woman.
Workplace included treatment as “homophobic”
Among the misconduct alleged in plaintiff’s lawsuit:
- After hiring her, a supervisor told the plaintiff, “This is the first time I’ve hired a Black woman that I’m not scared of,” playing into stereotypes of Black females as loud, angry and aggressive. The same supervisor is accused of making several more racist comments to the plaintiff over the years.
- Others in the plaintiff’s department “maliciously paraded [her] around” as homophobic. The characterization seems to be an assumption based on the plaintiff’s religion. The plaintiff denies being prejudiced against LGBTQ people. “I respect everyone for how they live,” she said. She described the treatment as hurtful.
It is not clear why the plaintiff’s job at SDSU ended or if she quit or was fired. It’s important to note that getting fired, demoted or otherwise punished due to membership in a protected class is not the only form of illegal employment discrimination. A hostile work environment in which an employee is subject to unwelcome comments, jokes and other communications based on a protected characteristic such as race, religion, sex, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability status etc.
Hostile and discriminatory workplaces require legal help
Someone who has experienced a hostile work environment or believes they were terminated due to discrimination should consult an employment law attorney to learn more about how the law applies to their particular case.