The previous scenario involves two protected classes: race and color. The female employee is experiencing unwanted and unwelcome comments based on the color of her skin. The scenario also shows that it is possible for people of the same race to harass one another. The co-workers' perception of the female employee's race is the focus of their unprofessional and disrespectful behavior.
The female employee can file a complaint with the Office for Institutional Equity & Diversity or with Human Resources. The supervisor, who is aware of the harassment, has a legal obligation to address the harassing behavior. He or she may call the Office for Institutional Equity & Diversity for assistance in dealing with the harassment. It is critical to address the employees' behaviors in a way that makes it clear that harassment will not be tolerated or additional disciplinary action will be taken. Supervisors must document what occurred and how they addressed the behaviors. Online guidance and help is available from the following resources:
These are also available in hard copy from the Office for Institutional Equity & Diversity.