, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 81-95

Racial harassment: Case characteristics and employer responsibilities

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Abstract

This article examines the socio-business issue of racial harassment in the workplace. For two decades, the federal judiciary has been defining and refining the elements of the offense within the parameters of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments for the first and only time on one of the important aspects of the developing doctrine focused considerable attention on this workplace problem in 1989. The Civil Rights Act of 1991 provides limited money damages to victims of discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, whereas Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 provides unlimited damages to the victims of discrimination and race harassment. The authors discuss the legislative and judicial foundations of race harassment with respect toPatterson v. McLean, provide a profile and analysis of racial harassment cases (1971–1987), and conclude with a discussion of employer liability and recommendations for management.