Discrimination laws protect more than minorities

It’s sometimes easy to forget, but anti-discrimination laws protect whites as well as minorities.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently investigated a printing company and found that it had discriminated against non-Hispanics. That illegal conduct cost the company $334,000.

The affected employees were all temporary workers. The company had a staff of full-time regular workers, but because its workload fluctuated it also used temps. It didn’t need all of them all the time. Its solution was to tell “a ‘core group’ of 50 to 75 temp workers to come to work unless otherwise notified, according to Lawyers.com. The rest of the temps got work only on an as-needed basis, working fewer hours and getting paid less than the core group as a result.

The EEOC found that the core group was ”disproportionately Hispanic, to the exclusion of similarly qualified non-Latino temporary workers.”

The company didn’t help its case when it told the staffing agency that provided the temps that it “preferred Hispanics,” according to the decision of a federal judge.

Note to employers: don’t do that.

In another example, a Colorado Hampton Inn franchise was forced to pay up $85,000 for discriminating against white Americans. The employer’s motive was its managers’ belief that non-Hispanic workers are lazy.

An EEOC press release about the Hampton Inn case stated that an “employer cannot discharge or refuse to hire an individual based on derogatory stereotypical beliefs about that person’s race or national origin. Employers cannot choose employees based on the color of their skin or their ancestry. This form of blatant discrimination clearly violates federal law” — even when it targets the dominant group.

The bottom line? There is no such thing as “reverse discrimination” under the law, just illegal discrimination.

About the Author


Will Temby

Will has enjoyed a 20-year career in leadership positions in the hospitality and travel industry throughout the U.S. with the Hyatt, Sheraton, Hilton, Renaissance and Steamboat Ski and Resort corporations. Will received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. From 2000-2007, he served as President and CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. He also served as Vice President-Special Projects for the University of Colorado Foundation from 2007 to 2009. Will is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Homeland Defense Foundation and former member of the United States Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. He is married to Nan, has five wonderful children, and enjoys coaching, traveling, hiking, golfing and skiing.