With the movement to combat racial injustice gaining steam across America, we can only hope that it one day gains more traction among employers in hopes of eliminating workplace racial discrimination. Racial discrimination continues to exist in our culture whether in subtle or blatant ways. Gradually, we have taken a serious introspective look into the psyche of our society. On the surface, we have made progress, but that progress often seems to appear as one step up and two steps back.
Just consider the recent federal lawsuit filed by a former employee of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff – a Black man named Smith Moore – alleges that the school tolerated racial discrimination when it failed to discipline another former employee who he claims attempted to pull a noose over his head three years ago.
Noose allegedly dangled
If this is the case, we still have a long way to go.
Moore, who served as the university’s director of event services and catering, claims that Mitchell Beare, the Western Michigan University’s assistant director of operations, dangled a noose behind Moore’s head during a meeting about diversity and inclusion. Beare is white.
Moore’s lawsuit was filed on Aug. 24 in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, almost exactly three years after the alleged incident occurred. The university investigated and concluded in October 2017 that Beare clearly violated the school’s non-discrimination policy. However, Beare retired a month before conclusion of the probe.
Moore argues in his lawsuit that university officials conducted an inadequate investigation and failed to take immediate action against Beare. In addition, Moore states that he suffered trauma due to continuing racial discrimination and harassment.