By Jack Tuckner, Esq.
According to at least one employment lawyer’s opinion, roughly 300,000 African-American federal employees right now are suffering in a hostile work environment. That would be actionable [in court], if they were working in any other organization, or for any other president under any other department of justice. ‘Hostile work environment’ as a claim requires that the terms of the conditions of one’s employment be irreparably degraded and altered due to hostility, ridicule, alarm, offensive conduct [and/or] speech based on certain protected statuses; two among them are race and color. The President of the United States has had a lifelong history of disparaging and showing vitriol toward people of color. Back in the day, he refused to rent to black New Yorkers and was found liable for that. He famously called for reinstatement of the New York death penalty to execute five youths accused of rape that they were proven to have not committed, and even when they were vindicated, he called for their deaths nonetheless.
While he’s been the president, the numerous race-baiting, race-inflammatory statements and conduct, from the Muslim ban to the “fine people” comment regarding the white supremacists in Charlottesville, to his recent picking a fight with black athletes who were protesting racial injustice – clearly anyone who is working in the Trump administration, who is of color, even those who are not, may be feeling the hostility of such a two-tiered employment framework, that is illegal, discriminatory and hostile.
Unfortunately, the current attorney general who oversees the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice is not the person who would champion the rights of the dispossessed and the people of color against an unbearably unlawful hostile work environment. But one day, some federal judge, such as the judges who overturned Trump’s travel ban may have a receptive ear toward [these] claims, so I encourage federal employees of color who feel this way to file claims of hostile work environment discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.