On March 28, 2017, The Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the matter of Castleberry v. STI Group, No. 16-3131 (3d Cir. 2017). In the Castleberry matter, two African-American men brought an employment discrimination case against STI, a staffing agency for Chesapeake Oil and Natural Gas Company. The two African-American males were fired by STI Group and they brought suit asserting that their terminations were racially motivated, setting forth various examples of discrimination, such as remarks made in the work place and unfair work treatment. The Third Circuit, the Appeals Court between the Federal Trial Court level and the United States Supreme Court, determined that the plaintiffs had sufficiently alleged claims of harassment, disparate treatment, discrimination, and retaliation under Federal Law and returned the case to the Trial Court level in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. There are different types of employment discrimination which Pennsylvania and Federal Law grant employees the right to sue their employer.
During their employment, the two African-American males were subject to a harassing written note on their sign-in sheets, as well as a singular incident utilizing a racial slur which was sufficiently severe to create a hostile work environment claim and bring a claim for harassment under Federal Law. To allege a hostile work environment claim, an employee must show (1) the employee suffered intentional discrimination; (2) the discrimination was severe and/or pervasive; (3) the discrimination detrimentally affected the employee; (4) the discrimination would detrimentally affect a reasonable employee in like circumstance and (5) the existence of liability by employer.
In Castleberry, the supervisor told the two African-American males that their work was sub-standard and utilized slurs in connection with their work performance. The employees reported the offensive language to a superior and were fired two weeks later without explanation. They then brought suit in Federal Court. Read the full text of the Castleberry opinion.
Workers have the right to a harassment-free work environment and should not be subjected to discriminatory slurs or comments in the work place. Workers should be judged on their performance and not their sex, age, race or ethnicity. All workers have the right to be protected from work place discrimination in any form. Discriminatory conduct in the work place is illegal under both State and Federal Law. Employees must take action to protect their rights under employment anti-discrimination statutes. To discuss work place protection, any employment matter or the right to be free from work place discrimination, contact Rolf Louis Patberg at 412-232-3500 or email Attorney Patberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.