Avoid Costly Litigation by Staying Up to Date on Slurs: Texas Lawyer

Texas Lawyer has signed up Alan Bush and Lee Winkelman as freelance contributors.  Their latest article, “Avoid Costly Litigation by Staying Up to Date on Slurs,” appeared in the September 7, 2015 issue in the In-House Texas section. 

Here’s what Alan and Lee had to say about staying up to date on slurs:

Preferred nomenclature won’t sit still. It moves over time. What was once a “song” has since been called everything from a ditty, to a tune, to a track, to a cut, to an earworm. Slurs and epithets have followed suit - they continually evolve.
No doubt, dropping an n-bomb in the workplace has got racial discrimination written all over it. What about calling someone a “coconut”? In the right context, the word could be just as loaded, too. Falling behind the times in vernacular could cost a company a six-figure discrimination lawsuit – along with all the disruption of defending against it. Let’s get up to speed.

Read the full article for more.  In it, Alan and Lee lay out some practical thoughts on:

  • Trends in new school slurs that are moving towards symbolic jabs at stereotypes;
  • How in-house counsel can keep new school slurs from nuking summary judgment on otherwise clean-looking employment actions.