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Handling racist customers in your workplace

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2022 | Employment Law For Employers |

As an employer, you have an obligation to make your workplace as safe as possible for your employees. One thing that can make that hard to do is your customers. Customers can be unpredictable, and while most may be kind and respectful, not all will be.

Racism and racist behavior has no place in a business. Negative comments made about your employees can hurt their feelings, make them upset and even make them feel like you don’t care about their wellbeing on the job. To avoid problems, it’s important that you always step in and take action to prevent those behaviors from continuing.

What do you do if a customer is being racist to your employee?

Right away, it’s important to step in and remove the employee from the situation. They don’t deserve to be degraded on the job, and they should not have to stand there and accept that behavior.

As the owner or manager of the business, you have a right to remove any customer who is causing problems in your business. When you approach them, be calm and professional, but tell them that their behavior is unacceptable and that you are asking them to leave.

State that those behaviors are unacceptable in your business and that they are not condoned. It is normally best not to escalate this kind of behavior by getting into an argument, which is why it’s smart to remove the employee from the situation (they may be upset or angry at this point) and to make it clear that the customer is no longer allowed on the property.

If the customer will not leave and you have security on the premises, you may ask security to step in. You should talk to your own employee personally about the situation and how you plan to handle it from there.

If you don’t have security, you have a right to call 911 to have the police come and remove the customer from the store. This shows that you value your employee and will not tolerate racism from anyone, customers and other employees alike.

Failing to step in could lead to a lawsuit, because your employee may feel that you condone racism in the workplace. If that occurs, then you will need to build a defense to protect your business.