Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of color, race, religion, gender or national origin (U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission). The law cover all races, including white, and both genders. Thus, it is possible for a white male to sue, and win, if they feel they are being discriminated against.
In 2012, a jury in Fulton County, Georgia awarded $300,000 in back pay to a former human services director who felt he had been overlooked as an applicant for a director’s job because he was white and male (Edwards). The man had interviewed, and thought he had done well, but a black woman had been chosen over him (Edwards). During the trial, the jury heard an alleged statement that a deputy county manager had been told by the Human Services commissioner that there were “too many white boys” in the department, although, according to the county attorney, she later denied making that statement and the jury shouldn’t have heard it (Edwards).
This case is similar to the scenario given. Sam repeatedly was denied a promotion, claimed he overheard the interviewer make a remark about white males, and deduced that the remark had applied to him. He can try to sue to win, but it could also be difficult for him. For one thing, the scenario isn’t clear if he still works there. Unlike the case listed above, where the former director no longer worked there, if Sam continued to work and sued, he could be placing his job, or any other future prospects for promotion or a reference, in jeopardy. He also might have a difficult time proving the case. All he has is his word, and likely, the interviewer would deny saying it, which would make it one person’s word against the other. He can hope his co-worker would be willing to risk their own career prospects and corroborate his claim, which could help. But it would still be a major risk for both of them. He would need to show that there had been a pattern of his being denied the promotions, as in, if most, if not all, of his previous attempts had resulted in a non-white male receiving the promotion. Otherwise, his case would be difficult to win, at best.
- U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, (2009 Nov. 21), Federal Laws Prohibiting Job Discrimination Questions And Answers, Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/qanda.html
- Edwards Johnny (2012 Aug. 30), “Jury: Fulton Discriminated Against White, Male Job Applicant, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Retrieved from http://www.ajc.com/news/news/jury-fulton-discriminated-againt-white-male-job-ap/nRPnf/