A former employee of Con Edison in New York has filed a harassment and discrimination complaint against the energy utility provider. According to the plaintiff, she was harassed and discriminated against by her supervisors and coworkers because she is a black woman.
When the plaintiff began working for Con Edison, she enjoyed climbing utility poles and working outdoors. Although she was often the victim of discriminatory comments from the mostly white male crew, she wanted to become a supervisor. In an effort to gain the qualifications she needed to advance with the company, the woman earned a master's degree and a certificate in electrical engineering by going to night school. Despite her efforts, the woman was repeatedly rejected for promotions in favor of less qualified white male applicants.
The law firm representing the plaintiff says that there are many male and female employees facing the same kind of racial discrimination from their employers. Minorities working in mid-level positions often find that they are unable to advance in their field regardless of how much education and work experience they have. Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives many race-based discrimination complaints, most of them are difficult to prove. Of the 31,073 racial discrimination complaints the EEOC received in 2014, less than 30 percent were found to have reasonable cause.
Racial discrimination can be difficult to prove because most employers will not admit that they are making hiring or promotion decisions based on race. However, a lawyer may be able to find evidence that an employer has demonstrated a pattern of discriminating against a particular racial group. If employees can prove that they were discriminated against because of their race, they may be able to pursue a claim for monetary compensation for the damages resulting from the workplace discrimination.