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Green Cards, Hostile Environments, and March Madness

Who would've thought March madness would provide an opportunity to comment on immigration law and harassment issues? 

During yesterday's first round tournament game, a Kansas State player was fouled and went to the free throw line to shoot two free throws.  Like any good crowd, the Southern Mississippi fans tried to get in his head to cause him to miss the free throw.  The problem is they whipped out the "Where's your green card?  Where's your green card?" chant because the Kansas State player is Hispanic.  The player is actually from Puerto Rico and grew up in Miami.  And he is a U.S. citizen, just as surely as the misguided Southern Miss students who originated the chant. 

While the idea on the basketball court is to create a hostile environment for your opponents, it isn't likely that a "Where's your green card?" chant is something Southern Miss administrators wanted to hear.  This type of behavior is never acceptable, whether at a sporting event or in the workplace.  These types of comments are becoming more commonplace, particularly as the various state legislatures debate and/or enact legislation relating to immigration and worker documentation.  And it's comments like these that employers dread.  Imagine if employees in your workplace were treating Hispanic co-workers in this manner.  In the case of the basketball game, Southern Miss will take some disciplinary actions against its students and that is likely to be the end of it.  In the workplace, those kinds of comments may lead to an EEOC charge and maybe even a slam dunk.  

For those who want to see the video click here.  You'll have to turn up the audio and focus on the background noise to hear the chanting.


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Don Berner, the Labor Law, OSHA, & Immigration Law Guy
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Boyd Byers, the General Employment Law Guy
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Jason Lacey, the Employee Benefits Guy
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