“You have to give the white type of service, not the black” – Two companies in southern Brazil condemned for racial discrimination; damages worth US$48,000

Dom Ricardo Hotel - São José dos Pinhais

Note from BW of Brazil: Nothing new here. Simply more exposure of how racism is as Brazilian caipirinha! Again, as has been pointed out in previous posts, these cases simply highlight the ones in which people stood up, denounced them, went to court, won and the press covered them. There is no way to calculate how many instances of blatant and subtle instances of racism, racial slurs and opinions of racial superiority based on stereotypes take place all over Brazil everyday, but these cases clearly establish that these examples are neither rare nor recent. 

Companies in Paraná are condemned for not curbing racial discrimination

Employees were victims of racist acts in the workplace and employers didn’t take necessary measures

Courtesy of Redação Bem Paraná

State of Paraná in southern Brazil
State of Paraná in southern Brazil

A distributor of drinks in Curitiba and a hotel in São José dos Pinhais were convicted in the Labor Court for not taking appropriate measures against acts of racism practiced within the companies. In both cases, even aware of racial discrimination among employees, companies did nothing to curb the behavior.

The first occurred in São José dos Pinhais, where a kitchen aid developed depression and panic disorder after being insulted repeatedly, and on several occasions, by the supervisor. She should be compensated with R$100,000, according to the ruling of Judge Leonardo Vieira Wandelli, of the 5th Labor Court of the city. In another case, the 2nd Panel of TRT-PR set at R$20,000 the compensation to a beverage delivery assistant called who was called “macaco” (monkey) by a colleague, a fact overlooked by the company even after the complaint.

First case

The assistant was hired in July 2012 to work in the kitchen at Dom Ricardo Hotel. Other employees reported seeing the supervisor refer to the cook as “preta, gorda e de cabelo ruim” (black, fat and bad hair), saying phrases like “you have to do serviço de branco (white service) for it to be well done and not de preto (of black).” (1)

Disagreeing with the situation, the worker complained several times to the HR department, but no action was taken. Severe and frequent offenses caused emotional shock to the kitchen help that fell ill.

After resigning for not taking the humiliation, the employee filed a lawsuit in the Labor Court, seeking compensation for moral damages and indirect recognition of termination of employment (the fault of the employer).

In his ruling, Judge Leonardo Vieira Wandelli, of the 5th Vara of São José, gave reason to requests from the kitchen aid, noting that companies have a duty to ensure a healthy work environment and can be held accountable for the behavior of its employees.

“It is the duty of the employer, as of every contractor, to ensure to not cause foreseeable harm to the counterparty. It is the duty of care of an implied duty of all contractors, expression of the legal principle of good faith objective,” says the decision.

By the decision, which is subject to appeal, the working of the hotel should receive R$100,000 for moral damages and also the recognition of the corresponding indirect termination of the contract (equivalent to unfair dismissal).

Second case

Brasil Kirin Logística e Distribuição

The other situation involving racism in the workplace resulted in condemnation of R$20,000 to the company Brasil Kirin Logística e Distribuição in Curitiba. The compensation to the beverage delivery assistant had been denied in the first degree, but on appeal was determined by the Second Chamber of the TRT-PR. Being afrodescendente (African descendant), the worker was called “macaco” by a colleague during an argument, complained to two superiors, but nothing was done. Witnesses confirmed the facts.

For the judges, the company erred by omitting themselves from the incident, whilst ensuring a work environment that prevails in dignity and respect for employees. “Comments alluding to the color or ethnicity of the person classifying them in a discriminatory nature cannot be tolerated and should be reprimanded immediately,” said the text of the judgment, which upheld the right of the employee to be indemnified.

The two decisions may be appealed.

Source: Bem Paraná


1. In Brazil, giving “white service (serviço de branco)” or giving “black service (serviço de preto)” is a very popular saying with “serviço de preto” being somewhat similar to the American phrase “nigger rig”, meaning “to fix something in a very cheap manner, using whatever tools are available; or to make something in manner in which it does actually work but doesn’t work perfectly or look professionally done.” Last year in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, a former mayor was fined R$300,000 (about US$150,000) for using this phrase in a radio interview.

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. What is REALLY funny to me is when many Brazilians who think they are “white” go to other countries and are treated like prostitutes and drug dealers. The only time this doesn’t happen is if they consign themselves to a largely Brazilian community, or if they have rich parents who can keep them from having to work or interact with the world outside of Brazil in a significantly meaningful way.

    It is also hilarious when I see Brazilians -even the southern ones – talk about “high standards”. I always hear people talk about how the southern states are supposedly so much better than every other place, but I have observed that they have many of the same problems of all the other states. Rich white Brazilians sort of remind me of mildly retarded children, unless they have lived or worked outside of Brazil. Only then do they become “reprogrammed” and develop into useful human beings. But if they do not leave their bubble in Brazil, this social and mental retardation often follows them through life.

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