It is illegal for companies to take race into account when determining who to hire or fire. All employees must get treated equally. Regardless of ethnicity, they deserve the same rights and the same opportunities.
Two cameramen who used to work on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" are claiming that NBC, which runs the show, did not offer them these equal rights and fired them in part due to their race.
According to the Washington Post, the whole thing began when a stagehand sent a text message to multiple people on the crew for the show. The stagehand is so far unnamed. Those who got the message allegedly included the two cameramen and the bass player for the Roots, the house band for the show.
The bass player was allowed to stay with the show. The cameramen were both fired.
Both cameramen said that the text message, which they felt was misogynist and racist, arrived unsolicited. They claimed they thought it was repulsive and that they did not approve of the language used. They then reported the incident and refused to send the "joke" on to anyone else.
Where things get tricky is that the two got fired anyway, and they now claim NBC discriminated against them because they are white. The bass player who also allegedly got the message and did not get fired is African-American.
The two cameramen are also claiming that the band's leader, Ahmir Khalib Thompson, better known as "Questlove," told network executives to fire them because of their race, while not pressuring the network to fire the bass player.
It is important to note that both NBC and Thompson have denied that race played into the decision. NBC has publicly stated that it strives to keep racism from entering the workplace and has policies to prevent it. Thompson said that the allegations against him in particular were disrespectful and ridiculous.
He said, they said
This case is far from over, but it does a good job of illustrating how complicated discrimination claims can become. Often, they get filled with "he said, she said" arguments, and getting to the bottom of things can be complex and difficult.
That's why it's so important to gather all of the information and evidence you can if you feel you've been discriminated against, especially if it cost you your job. Document as much as you can in writing, pictures and videos. Save anything that points to discrimination, from text messages to emails. Even when you know you're telling the truth, remember that you often need clear evidence to prove it.
As you do this, make sure you take some time to look into all of your rights as an employee and the legal options you have.