Note from BW of Brazil: So here’s yet another one from the “we Brazilians aren’t racists” archive! What really spoke to me about today’s case was what managers and other superiors did about the harassment after several months: NOTHING! It speaks to the fact that, in reality, Brazil doesn’t want to do anything about its problem with racism. What can we expect when so many people are brought up in a culture of denying its very existence? The other thing that I would like to emphasize in this case is how the woman was absolutely humiliated by racist attacks for several months and couldn’t gather up enough force to stand up to her aggressor. This is another reason that I have argued in other posts that it doesn’t matter in an argument over which country in the world is the most racist for Brazil’s racism is perhaps the most efficient because it successfully neutralizes any challenge from its victims. It is these sorts of verbal attacks that leads many black Brazilians to internalize self-hatred and the desire to not be black.
And even with numerous incidents of this type happening throughout Brazil everyday, in schools, on airplanes, sporting events, restaurants, supermarkets, etc, (many documented here), people still want us to believe that Brazil is a place of harmonious racial relations even as more of these cases are ending up in court. Let me say again, this façade only continues because black Brazilians as a group have yet to rise up in a manner that suggests a challenge to such racist oppression. The giant continues to sleep perhaps not realizing its own strength, but be warned, people will only take such assaults on their humanity before they eventually react…
Supermarket chain condemned to pay $500 thousand in compensation to worker due to racism
The atacadista (warehouse/bulk store) chain Makro was condemned to pay R$500,000 (currently worth about US$124,000) in compensation for moral damages to a 39 year old stocker that suffered constant racist attacks from a work colleague at a location in the city of Florianópolis (capital city of Santa Catarina). The victim took the case to managers, denounced the incidents to the international ombudsman however nothing was done about it. The judge considered that there was an omission on the part of the company.
Co-workers and customers witnessed the racist attacks and confirmed that the employee was offended by expressions like “preta fedida” (stinking black), “macaca preguiçosa” (lazy monkey) e “urubu fedorento” (stinking vulture) by a person from another department. According to information from the case, the witnesses reveal that the stocker showed fear of her aggressor and after the attacks was seen crying in the bathroom. In one of the situations, the victim was in the bathroom washing her hands and ran into the co-worker that called her “nega fedida” (stinking black) and slammed the door in her face.
According to the stocker’s lawyer, Kléber Ivo dos Santos, of Gerent Advocacia, the woman is very shaken and prefers not to give any interviews.
“She cries a lot when speaking of the subject, cried at the hearing and remains very shaken up by all the offenses. In December she was dismissed, is unemployed and not doing well,” he said.
Company is responsible for acts of their employees
The aggressions started in November of 2014 and lasted for around six months. The lawyer emphasizes that the company is responsible for workers’ actions and in this case the stocker took every measure to resolve the situation, reporting it to her superiors, to the company’s human resources department and even to the international ombudsman, that was in English and where she had difficulty with communication, however nothing was done:
“The value is high for the whole context of the process and for the activity of the company. The judge left it clear in his sentence that he established it set an example and in a social-pedagocial manner so that companies don’t allow this type of conduct,” explained Kléber dos Santos.
The judge of the Válter Túlio Ribeiro 2nd Labor Court of Florianópolis considered that the aggressions configured a typical case of moral assault and pointed out the severe omission of the atacadista chain that, even conscience of the aggressions, allowed the employee to continue being humiliated.
“The unjustified attitude of the defendant, without a shadow of doubt was likely to cause in the humble and needy worker, embarrassment and disgrace in her dignity and feelings of a human person,” observed the judge in his decision.
He also pointed out that there was no apology or any subsequent act of the company to minimize the situation. In addition to the damage, the compensation value also takes into account the economic capacity of the company and the pedagogical nature of the measure. The company can appeal the decision at the Tribunal Regional do Trabalho (Regional Labor Court) of Santa Catarina (TRT-SC).
Source: Hora de Santa Catarina