Have you faced racial discrimination at your place of work? Has it cost you opportunities such as pay raises or promotions? Has it made it difficult for you to perform your job, or even caused you to be terminated?
Racial discrimination in the workplace is against the law. By using the protections provided under anti-discrimination law, you may be able to get fast relief from unfair conditions at work. If your employer refuses to make necessary changes, or takes adverse action against you, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them and claim restitution.
Before you speak to a lawyer, you may want to know more about how discrimination cases are created and handled. Below, you can learn more about these claims, the laws that make discrimination illegal, and possibilities if you win a case.
Table of Contents
- What is Race Discrimination in the Workplace?
- What Acts May be Considered Race Discrimination?
- What Protections are there Against Racial Discrimination?
- Are there state laws against discrimination?
- How do I Prove Race Discrimination?
- How can a Racial Discrimination Attorney Help?
What is Race Discrimination in the Workplace?
Race discrimination occurs when an employee is mistreated in the workplace because he or she is of a certain race. Racial discrimination is illegal.
This type of discrimination is defined broadly by the law. You can be a victim of workplace race discrimination based on personal characteristics that may be associated with a race. These characteristics may include hair texture, skin color, or facial features.
Your employer does not need to be directly involved in the discrimination for you to have a case. If co-workers discriminate against you and your employer fails to act, they can be held responsible.
You do not have to be an employee to have been a victim of workplace discrimination. If you were denied a job because of your race or color, you might still be eligible to file a claim.
What Acts May be Considered Race Discrimination?
Racial discrimination in the workplace can take many different forms. You may have faced any of the following discriminatory behaviors:
- Not being hired or being fired (or laid off) due to your race
- Work assignments that are given out based on race, including promotions and promotional opportunities
- Being paid less than your similar coworkers due to your race
- Intrusive questions about your racial identity
- Jokes or inappropriate comments at the expense of your race
- Unequal application of disciplinary measures based on race
- The display of racially-offensive symbols in the workplace
This is not a complete list of all actions that may be considered discriminatory. If you have faced any kind of unfair treatment in the workplace as a result of your race, you may have a case.
What Protections are there Against Racial Discrimination?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the key piece of legislation that protects employees from race-based discrimination. It made discrimination an illegal act, clarified what is to be considered discrimination, and established penalties for violators. The federal anti-discrimination laws apply to all employers with 15 or more employees.
Title VII also established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC is responsible for enforcing a number of anti-discriminatory laws. They are empowered to investigate complaints that are filed through their system. If they discover discrimination, they may issue a determination or provide you with a Notice of Right to Sue. Employees can be represented by their own employment law attorney and often hire a lawyer to help them navigate the EEOC process.
Are there state laws against racial discrimination?
Yes, most states have laws against racial discrimination in the workplace. These laws are often known as “fair employment practices laws.” All of the following states have fair employment laws that directly address race, though the protections may vary from state-to-state.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Some states, such as Alabama, only protect residents against discrimination based on factors such as age. However, the federal laws apply in all U.S. states, so a lack of fair employment practices laws in your state doesn’t necessarily mean you’re unprotected.
How Do I Prove Race Discrimination?
Proving race discrimination is difficult, but there are several practices that you can use to make a case easier for yourself. If you can, do all of the following when you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace:
- Report harassing behavior soon after it happens (Even if your employer refuses to act, you can use the reports as evidence).
- Keep dated notes of times you have experienced harassing comments or jokes.
- Take pictures of racially-offensive material that has been posted in the workplace.
- Save emails that include racial harassment and send copies to non-work emails.
- Take sound recordings or videos of harassing behavior if it is legal in your state.
You should speak to a racial discrimination attorney if you want to know more about how you can legally collect evidence to help prove your case.
How can a Racial Discrimination Attorney Help?
A racial discrimination attorney can help you navigate the challenges of reporting racial discrimination. An attorney can help you write legal letters to your place of work, help you understand the EEOC process and what EEOC investigations are looking for, or help you move forward with a civil case.
If you do move forward with a case, an attorney can represent you until you get justice. If you win your case, you may be able to correct any harmful practices at your job and/or claim monetary compensation for earnings you have lost, mental anguish you have suffered as well as attorneys’ fee and costs associated with filing a lawsuit.
Is it Time to Speak to a Racial Discrimination Attorney?
If you are facing racial discrimination in the workplace, it may be time to speak to a racial discrimination attorney. Attorneys who focus on this area of the law will have the experience necessary to help you in dealing with racial abuse and hostile workplace environments.
Schedule a consultation to speak with a racial discrimination attorney today.