Diversity Day

March 30, 2007 - by: Julie Elgar 0 COMMENTS

LITIGATION VALUE:  $800,000

If I represented Kelly, I think my opening statement would say something like this:
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we are here today because Kelly Kapoor’s right to work in an environment free of discrimination was violated when her boss, Michael Scott, repeatedly made negative comments about her heritage culminating in an incident in which he openly mocked her during a training meeting by doing an imitation of an Indian convenience store owner.

Today Dunder Mifflin will take the stand and they will tell you about their efforts to promote a diverse workforce.  They will tell you they acted as a good corporate citizen by maintaining a policy prohibiting discrimination in the workplace and that they enforced that policy by taking prompt remedial action in response to a complaint that Michael Scott, a regional manager, acted in a racially insensitive manner.  Dunder Mifflin will even tell you how they hired a consultant to provide diversity training.  But the evidence paints another picture.

Today you will hear from Mr. Brown, who will tell you how Mr. Scott disrupted the diversity training by asking employees to identify which races they preferred sexually.  Next Oscar Martinez, a Mexican-American, will tell you that Mr. Scott asked him whether he preferred his heritage to be referred to as something other than “Mexican” because of the “negative connotations.”  You will also hear how Mr. Scott forced employees to play a game of racial charades in which employees used stereotypes to act out various ethnicities.  Finally, when Mr. Scott was asked to sign a reprimand acknowledging that he had received the diversity training, he signed it “Daffy Duck.”  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the most telling piece of evidence.

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