HR Management & Compliance

Race Bias: EEOC Sues Employer Over Rap Music in Workplace

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued Novellus Systems, Inc., based in San Jose, charging that the company fired African-American employee Michael Cooke because he complained about having to listen to a co-worker’s rap music, which contained racially offensive lyrics. The lawsuit alleges that Cooke complained to his supervisors that a co-worker played and loudly sang along to rap music. The company allegedly failed to act on Cooke’s complaint and then fired him a few months later.

In connection with this new lawsuit, the EEOC stated: “The EEOC is not in the business of judging anyone’s musical tastes, but we are concerned when we find that an employer failed to respond promptly after being put on notice of racially offensive language or conduct in the workplace.”

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Additional Resources:

EEOC Information on Race Discrimination

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