When one hears the term “racial discrimination,” the image that most likely appears in one’s mind is a white person unfairly treating someone who is from a minority. But that is not always the case. Discrimination against those who are Caucasian can also occur, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects them, just as it does those of other races. Part m of the section in question states “an unlawful employment practice is established when the complaining party demonstrates that race, color, religion, sex, or national origin was a motivating factor for any employment practice…” It does not exclude any race, whether a majority or minority.
A woman in Texas, who is white, is putting this part of Title VII to the test with a race discrimination lawsuit she filed against Texas Southern University (TSU). She is the Assistant Dean of Academic Support at TSU’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. The former dean of the school hired her in 2007 and seemed pleased with her work, giving her positive reviews during his tenure. He was replaced by another man, who is African-American, in 2009. Ever since then, the woman claims that he has made her workplace unbearable in the hopes that she would quit. He has allegedly taken away her authority to manage employees, has withheld compensation from her, and reduced her duties.
One might think the current dean just has a different style of managing people and that the woman just needs to adjust. But according to the lawsuit, his other employees who are African-American have not lost any authority or pay since he began. As an example, the plaintiff said she is no longer allowed to have keys to the school, but the other minority employees do; and she was not allowed to interview a potential employee alone, while the other employees are allowed to select who they hire.