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Innocent Remarks May be Evidence of Discrimination Depending on the Context

In Ash v. Tyson Foods, Inc., +546 U.S. 454 (2006), the United States Supreme Court addressed whether the use of otherwise innocent words, standing alone, can be discriminatory based on the context in which they are used.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on race. +42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2.

In this case, the Supreme Court held that the use of the word boy when used by a white supervisor to refer to black subordinates, without further qualification or modification, can constitute evidence of discrimination under Title VII.