Human Resources News & Insights

“Reverse discrimination” has a big price tag

It’s not what you expect to see in a race discrimination case. But one company recently had to fork over $500,000 for failing to hire a white job applicant.

In a case of so-called “reverse discrimination,” a white man claimed he was passed over for an open job because of his race. A Hispanic employee was hired instead.

He claimed the firm had an unofficial quota system, giving a third of its jobs to whites, a third to blacks and a third to Hispanics. The employer said that’s just not true, but the jury apparently didn’t buy it. The man was awarded $500,000. The firm’s appealing.

It’s still discrimination

Cases like this re-emphasize the fact that considering race in any way when hiring, firing or promoting can get a company dragged into court. The EEOC has said that, though some courts might make it harder for white plaintiffs to make a case for discrimination, the Commission itself “applies the same standard of proof to all race discrimination claims, regardless of the victim’s race.”

The tough part is that a lot of companies get in trouble when they make hiring decisions in an attempt to increase diversity. When that’s the goal, the best – and most legal way – is to use recruiting methods that get the word out to underrepresented groups. When it’s time to hire, though, one group can’t be preferred over another.

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  1. The following statement from the article above caught my attention immediately:

    “The EEOC has said that, though some courts might make it harder for white plaintiffs to make a case for discrimination………”

    Would this not be considered reverse discrimination?

  2. “Some courts might make it harder for white plaintiffs”…and I thought the courts were supposed to be unbiased. What was I thinking?

  3. I think there is a serious flaw in the last paragraph. There is currently a position being considered by EEOC that might make the use of “recruiting methods that get the word out to underrepresented groups” illegal in a reverse discrimination suit. That is in the area where they contend that by using the internet only, you may be discriminating against minorities, because in their flawed opinion, minorities have less access to he internet. Therefore it would seem that a reverse discrimination lawsuit might be propagated based on a concerted effort by a company to get the job notices out to areas that cater only to minorities.

  4. Access to the Internet may be an issue for rural folks who have no connnection service but, as for access in the City I don’t buy the arquement. Internet access is available at all Employment Centers in the country, and most librarys have computers with connection as well. Keep in mind that company’s that place want ads on the net have little control as to who sees it.

  5. Why is it called ‘reverse discrimination’? There is nothing ‘reverse’ about it. If you discriminate against someone (Title VII) be it white, black, catholic, muslim, young, old, etc….it’s discrimination. If your decsion is made based on a quota, number, etc…’s discrimination. There is nothing reverse about it.

    “Reverse Discrimination” is inherently a discriminatory statement… could assume, by that statement, that only white males under 40 are discriminators? And if they are discriminated against, it becomes ‘reverse’?

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