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Race Discrimination

Racial discrimination refers to the practice of treating individuals differently because of their race or color. It is the practice of letting a person’s race or skin color become a factor when deciding who receives a job, promotion, or other employment benefit. Federal law prohibits race discrimination in the workplace and incidents of race discrimination can take many forms.

If you have experienced any of the following situations, you may be a victim of race discrimination:

  • Hiring/Firing/Promotions. You apply for a job for which you have experience and brilliant qualifications, but you are not hired because some of the company’s long-time clients are not comfortable dealing with you. The positions you applied for are instead filled by less qualified people of a different race.
  • Job Classification/Pay. You work at a company that has a job classification system; your responsibilities are being increased all the time, but your job classification and pay has remained stagnant.
  • Harassment. One of your coworkers thinks it’s “funny” to tell jokes insulting blacks, Latinos, Asians, or some other minorities. The boss doesn’t talk to or discipline your coworker for his harassing behavior.

The most important law covering racial discrimination on the job is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: it strictly prohibits all forms of discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in all aspects of employment. The law stated that it was unlawful for an employer to “fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Title VII prohibits employers from:

  • failing or refusing to hire an employee based on their race;
  • firing or disciplining an employee because of their race;
  • paying an employee less or providing them fewer benefits on account of their race;
  • failing to provide benefits, promotions, or opportunities, to an employee because of their race; and
  • improperly classifying or segregating employees or applicants by race.

To oversee the federal civil rights legislation, a separate administrative body was created. It is The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC. EEOC was created to enforce laws that prevent discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion, national origin, disability, or age when hiring, firing, or promoting employees. These categories of people were given “protected status” under the law, which was to be upheld by the EEOC.

Even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified race discrimination lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Contact a local race discrimination attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.

About the author

Thomas Elliott

Education: Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, New York. Pace University, White Plains, New York.
Professional Associations and Memberships: American Bar Association, New York State Bar, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Brooklyn Bar Association, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

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