Which Federal Law Covers Race Discrimination?

For a long time employers could choose who they hired and could exclude applicants based on their racial characteristics and no one would dispute it. Today employees are protected from race discrimination by federal laws and regulations that prohibit this practice. The main act is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This covers all types of discrimination as well as race discrimination.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

This race discrimination law prohibits all types of employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It is illegal under Title VII to discriminate based on race in any area of employment which includes the following:

  • use of the company’s facilities;
  • transfer, layoff, promotion or recall;
  • retirement plans,
  • recruitment;
  • recruitment tests;
  • job advertisements;
  • involvement in apprenticeship and training programs;
  • firing and hiring;
  • disability leave;
  • compensation, assignment, or classification of employees;
  • amount of pay;
  • allocating fringe benefits.

Title VII also prohibits harassment on the basis of race. If an employee files a race discrimination charge, or willingly takes part in an investigation in relation to a discrimination charge, the employer is prohibited from retaliating. The employer is also not allowed to deny employment opportunities to a person because of marriage to, or association with, a person of a particular race.

If your employer violates the provisions in Title VII, and you have the evidence to prove you have been a victim of race discrimination in your workplace, you have the legal right to complain to your employer and request that the race discrimination stops.

It is the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) which enforces all of these laws. If your employer ignores your request you will then need to turn to the EEOC for help.

National Origin Discrimination

It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against someone because of their national origin which means their birthplace, ancestry, culture, or linguistic characteristics shared by the employees’ ethnic group. Title VII protects employees and it may be violated if an employer demands that employees just speak English unless there is no way business could be conducted otherwise.

If this is the case the employer is required to tell its employees when English must be spoken and what the consequences are if this requirement is breached. If you believe you have been discriminated against by your employer due to your national identity you may file a complaint with your employer. If nothing is done to resolve the matter you may take your complaint up with the EEOC.

Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) applies to employers with 4 or more employees, to employees who are citizens or nationals of the United States, and aliens who are have legal permanent residents, have been granted temporary residence status, admitted as refugees, or granted asylum. IRCA prohibits employers from knowingly hiring, recruiting, or referring for a fee any alien who is unauthorized to work.

All employers under the IRCA must verify both the identity and employment eligibility of all regular, temporary employees, temporary agency personnel, and student employees hired after November 6th 1986. They are required to complete and keep INS Form I-9 which documents this verification.

If they do not comply with these requirements it may result in the imposition of fines ranging from $100 to $1,000 for each hire. Also if the employer fails to verify the identity of a new employee and employment eligibility the employee may lose their job.

When it comes to hiring workers who are not US citizens the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 requires that employers hire workers who are legally authorized to work in the country. However, if an employer requests employment verification just from potential employees who originate from a particular national origin, or individuals who just sound foreign, this may be violating Title VII. Also, the IRCA as under the IRCA requirements all employees regardless of national origin must provide proof that they are entitled to work in the U.S. Employers who impose citizenship requirements or give preferences to U.S. citizens in hiring or employment opportunities also may violate IRCA.

Filing a Workplace Racial Discrimination Claim

If your employer has violated your federal employment rights under Title VII, you should contact an employment law attorney. Any individual who believes that his or her employment rights have been violated due to race discrimination may file a charge of race discrimination with the EEOC.

You may be entitled to remedies from your employer if you can prove Title VII has been violated. Fill out a Free Case Evaluation on this page to get connected with an attorney who takes cases in your area.

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