What Constitutes Racial Discrimination in the Work Place?

by allisondean on April 26, 2012

  • SumoMe

We’ve all heard about racial discrimination in the workplace, but what truly constitutes it and how should you act if you feel you are being discriminated against based on your race?

In the United States, citizens are protected against being discriminated against in the workplace by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub. L. 88-352) (Title VII), which “prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.”  What this means is that companies with 15 or more employees are lawfully prohibited from doing the following based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin:

  • Hire employees.  This includes hiring or not hiring people, seeking out applicants, or attempting to get information on applicants.
  • Harass employees.  This includes making inappropriate comments or treating employees differently.
  • Reward, promote, demote, etc. employees.
  • Segregate, classify, or place employees. 
  • Retaliate against employees who report or file charges against an employer or employee for racial discrimination. 

What To Do If You Think You’re a Victim

If you think you’ve been a victim of workplace discrimination, there is a procedure for righting the wrong brought against you.

First, you should speak to your boss, HR representative, etc. about the situation.

Second, if you feel that nothing has been done to resolve the issue, or that you are being further discriminated again based on your discussion, you need to file a formal complaint.  Be specific with the date, time, place, etc. that the discrimination took place.

Third, make a record of the discrimination.  Be as specific as possible, and if it took place on multiple occasions, be sure to record those as well.

Fourth, if still nothing is done to remedy the situation after you filed a formal complaint with your company, then you should file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Fifth, you should look into locating a lawyer who specializes in labor/employment law.  Try to avoid general attorneys; after all, you don’t need a nursing home abuse attorney or medical malpractice attorney working on your employment discrimination case.

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