Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted to protect American workers against race discrimination and harassment in the workplace, yet racial discrimination continues to lead the number of complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In fact, more than 33,500 cases nationwide were reported in 2012.
Regardless of your race, color or ethnicity, you could be targeted for discrimination at work, thereby affecting your career and overall well-being. But understanding what constitutes racial discrimination is essential in protecting your job and establishing a workplace that is free from prejudice.
Barrett & Farahany, an Atlanta law firm specializing in race discrimination, possesses extensive experience in fighting for employees discriminated against by their companies and colleagues. We understand that you deserve to be judged in the workplace for your merits and accomplishments, not your race, and that you should be paid fairly and equally.
What does racial discrimination include?
Federal law prohibits companies employing 15 or more individuals from basing employment decisions on stereotypes and assumptions about abilities, traits or the performance of individuals of certain racial groups. It makes illegal both intentional discrimination as well as job policies that appear neutral, but in fact are not job-related and disproportionally harm workers of certain races.
Examples of this discrimination in the workplace can include:
- Inequalities in hiring, firing or promotion – Anti-discrimination protections apply to job applicants as well as current workers. If you are a current employee and are fired or not promoted, you are protected under the law. If you are not hired because of race, you are also protected.
- Disparities in pay – Even when whites and minorities work in the same field, the wage gap between races still exists. Studies have shown that in professional industries, the wage gap on average is between $2,000 to $12,000 a year. You may have a case under Title VII if you are denied equal pay due to your race.
- Job classification – If your responsibilities have increased, but your job classification and pay have remained stagnant because of your race while those of your colleagues have been adjusted, according to the law, your benefits must match those of coworkers in similar positions.
- Harassment – Although Title VII does not specifically use the words “racial harassment,” courts have held that racial harassment is race discrimination and violates the law. Harassment can lead to a hostile workplace and includes everything from racial jokes to physical threats.
The law doesn’t specifically use the words racial harassment, although the courts do see racial harassment as a form of racial discrimination. Additionally the laws do cover victims of harassment in the workplace and freedom from a hostile work environment. For more information on the differences visit our blog post on this topic.
If you have been a victim of racial discrimination or harassment, the first thing to do is approach management or human resources to report the injustice. However, if your company does nothing to remedy the situation, contact Barrett & Farahany for help. We can build a race discrimination case on your behalf, file a complaint with the EEOC, and help secure the remedies available to you, from back pay to reinstatement of your position to damages. It’s the belief of Barrett & Farahany that you have worked too hard to let someone else’s bias stand in way of your success.