Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
A young law intern has been awarded a BRL 6,000 (GBP 879) payout after her boss described her as the office “monkey” during a team-building exercise.
The incident took place in the city of Belo Horizonte, in the south-eastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, in December 2017.
However, the case was only settled in August 2020.
Law grad Maira Caroline de Faria, 24, who is mixed-race, was referred to as a “monkey” by her boss at an office bonding party at the firm she was interning at.
The office had been taking part in a Secret Santa. When revealing who he had picked, the boss said it was the “office monkey”.
Ms Faria, who described the situation to local media as “humiliating, painful and vexatious”, filed a lawsuit against her boss.
The boss, who has not been named, denied in court any racial aspect to the word he used.
He said he used the word “macaca” (female monkey) in reference to “macaquice” (fooling around) because she was happy, fun and humorous.
He also formally accused Ms Faria of defamation.
Witness testimony confirmed that the word was not used in an offensive tone. However, proceedings ended with the two parties mutually agreeing to the BRL 6,000 (GBP 879) payout to Ms Faria.
In the sentencing, judge Fernanda Garcia wrote: “Justifications of drunkenness, festivity or anything else are irrelevant to brush off the harm caused, regardless of motivation or actual intention. We live in a plural and mixed society, with a sad history of racial discrimination and this needs to change.”
Ms Faria told local media: “The case is important to show that, even within the law world, there are cases of prejudice. There are well-informed people who also commit this type of crime. It runs deep in people.”
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