Despite the passage of equal rights laws and policies, racial discrimination continues to happen across the country. There is a call for tolerance, but racial discrimination continues.
Racial discrimination is any discrimination against an individual based on their race, ethnic origin, or skin color. This discrimination can occur by an individual or business refusing to do business with you, refusing to socialize with you, or declining to share resources with a certain person or group. Often racial discrimination occurs at work.
How Racial Discrimination Can Happen At Work
There are many ways racial discrimination happens, and sometimes it is more obvious than others. As an example, a qualified applicant is turned down for a job because of her race.
Another example could be that the only black employee is given the worst schedule because of his race.
Other examples could include inappropriate remarks or jokes that are based on color or ethnicity. Jokes like “did you hear about the black guy who…” or “you should know how to do this job since you are a Mexican.”
Racial discrimination can lead to workers not getting promotions that they are entitled to and are qualified for, it can result in lower pay, and it can also lead to unfair treatment and worse work schedules.
To prove that you have suffered racial discrimination in the workplace, you will need to maintain a file of supporting evidence and documentation.
Keep your employee handbook, employment contract, any memos, emails, or texts, any digital evidence, and witness statements. Be sure to document any incidents that you think would classify as racial discrimination.
Just one or two remarks may not stand up, but if there is an ongoing pattern, then your claim will be more likely to stand up in a court of law.
Here are some common examples of racial discrimination in the workplace:
- Denied promotions
- Paid lower wages
- The subject of jokes
- Inappropriate remarks
- Reference to color or race
- Undesirable work schedules
- Not hired for a job you're qualified for
Often, if an employer racially discriminates against you it is not just you alone. There is usually a pattern of such behavior. If you can prove there is a pattern, you will be more likely to have a successful claim and show that your employer willingly and knowingly broke the law.
You should carefully document every incident and be sure to maintain thorough evidence to support your claim. Make copies of the evidence to supply with any complaint that you file but be sure to hold on to any original documents yourself for future reference.
What To Do If You Are Experiencing Racial Discrimination At Work
If you are the victim of racial discrimination at work, you should follow proper protocol. Review your employee handbook and understand the company rules and procedures for reporting such problems.
You should also review the state and federal laws that apply to racial discrimination. Your first step will most likely be filing a complaint with your employer. You will need to talk or with a supervisor/manager or submit a letter with human resources (HR).
Be sure to get evidence that you file the complaint and document the response from your employer, including everything that is said and what action is taken. Keep any correspondence that you receive from your employer.
If the internal complaint doesn’t resolve the issue, you will want to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC oversees employers and enforces laws that protect employees.
You can file a complaint in person at the nearest office or online. You will need to provide copies of supporting documentation and evidence. The EEOC will interview you and investigate the incident. They will then contact your employer. They will attempt to resolve the matter.
If the EEOC finds that there is a pattern for this behavior with your employer, or if they find that your employer willfully and intently broke the law, they will suggest that you file a lawsuit against your employer and request to be compensated for your damages. An employment law attorney will be able to help you with the process.
Get Help With Your Claim
If you have been the victim of racial discrimination in the workplace, you will want to enlist the help of an employment lawyer. An attorney will be familiar with the state and local laws that apply to your situation.
An attorney will investigate your claim and gather supporting evidence. Some employment law attorneys take cases on a contingency basis, but others do require a retainer to be paid upfront. Get your Free Case Evaluation Today.