It has been said that hard work never hurt anyone. However, when hard work is associated with discrimination or racial slurs, it’s safe to say “hurt” is inevitable. Recently, three Target employees filed lawsuits against the company, citing workplace discrimination.

Purportedly, three employees of the Target distribution warehouse in Woodland, California filed lawsuits against the company seeking unspecified punitive damages for age and race discrimination, harassment and failure to prevent harassment. All three employees are of Mexican descent. Target allegedly distributed “multicultural tips” that highlighted the differences of Hispanic employees.

According to the lawsuit, the three employees were subjected to a number of racial slurs and were discriminated against because of their race. The suit highlights the fact that all management positions at the warehouse were awarded to Caucasian employees and that all Hispanic employees were assigned to manual labor positions. However, a spokesperson for Target has stated the company never intended to offend team members or guests. The company issued an apology and stated that the cultural document that was distributed at the warehouse was not part of formal or company-wide training.

The lawsuit also states that one employee complained to human resources about racial slurs, but his complaints were dismissed. He also states that his supervisors retaliated against him after he sought help from human resources. He was fired on May 6, 2011.

Every employee deserves a safe and comfortable working environment. Just because an employee is performing a physically demanding job does not mean he or she should be subjected to an emotionally demanding environment. The law in California, and all over the United States, is designed to protect employees against workplace discrimination and other forms of harassment on the job.

Source: ABC News, “Target Apologizes for ‘Multi-Cultural’ Tips Used in Northern Calif. Warehouse,” Susanna Kim, July 9, 2013