african-american employee looking upsetSuffering adverse actions at work based solely on your race is unacceptable—and illegal. As a victim of racial discrimination in the workplace, you are probably very angry, but you also might feel scared, confused, and alone. When you contact employment discrimination lawyer Scott Blankenship, someone will have your back. Whether we help you resolve the issue out of court or we sue your employer for discrimination, you can be confident that you will not be alone.

What Kind of Workplace Treatment Could Be Considered Racial Discrimination?

Workplace racial discrimination refers to unfair or prejudiced treatment of employees or job applicants based on their race or ethnicity. It is a violation of federal law in the United States and is governed primarily by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Workplace racial discrimination can manifest in various forms, including:

  • Disparate treatment. This occurs when an individual is treated differently because of their race or ethnicity. For instance, an employer refusing to hire, promote, or provide equal pay to an employee solely based on their race would be considered disparate treatment.
  • Disparate impact. Even if an employer's policies or practices appear neutral on the surface, they might disproportionately affect certain racial or ethnic groups. If these policies cannot be justified by business necessity, they could still be considered discriminatory.
  • Harassment. Racial harassment involves unwelcome comments, jokes, slurs, or offensive conduct based on an individual's race. Harassment creates a hostile work environment and is illegal under federal law.
  • Retaliation. If an employee reports or opposes racial discrimination in the workplace, federal law protects them from retaliation. Retaliation can include actions like termination, demotion, or other adverse employment actions taken in response to the protected activity.

You might not be able to place the treatment you have received at work into one of these categories easily, but you don't have to. If you have been made to feel uncomfortable because of your race, reach out to our team to discuss your options.

What to Do If You Suspect Racial Discrimination at Work

If you suspect that you are the victim of racial discrimination in the workplace, it's important to take certain steps to protect your rights and address the situation. Here's a list of steps you can consider:

  1. Document incidents. Keep a detailed record of any incidents related to racial discrimination. Include dates, times, locations, individuals involved, witnesses, and a description of what happened. Try to be as objective and factual as possible.
  2. Save evidence. Hold on to any evidence that supports your claim, such as emails, text messages, witness statements, or other relevant documentation. This evidence can be crucial in establishing your case.
  3. Report the incident. Follow your company's established procedures for reporting discrimination or harassment. This might involve speaking with your immediate supervisor, HR department, or a designated individual responsible for handling such complaints.
  4. Use internal channels. If your company has an internal complaint process, make use of it. File a formal complaint outlining the incidents, individuals involved, and the impact on your work environment. Keep copies of all documents related to your complaint.
  5. Consult an attorney. At this point in the process, consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in employment law. They can provide legal advice on your specific situation and guide you through the process.
  6. Cooperate with investigations. If your company initiates an investigation into your complaint, cooperate fully with your attorney by your side. Provide any requested information, attend interviews, and provide your perspective on the situation.
  7. Seek support. Reach out to friends, family, or a counselor to discuss your experiences and emotions. Dealing with discrimination can be stressful, and having a support system can help you navigate the situation.

Remember that each situation is unique, and the steps you take will depend on the circumstances and your own comfort level. It's important to prioritize your well-being and seek the advice of a lawyer as early in the process as possible to ensure you are taking the appropriate actions to protect your rights and hold your employer accountable for breaking federal law.

What You and Your Lawyer Will Have to Prove

To establish a claim of workplace racial discrimination, an individual generally needs to demonstrate the following:

  • They are a member of a protected racial or ethnic group.
  • They were subjected to adverse employment actions or harassment.
  • They were qualified for the job or position in question.
  • Similarly situated individuals who are not members of the protected group were treated more favorably.

If these descriptions apply to you, you might have a case for workplace discrimination. The team at the Blankenship Law Firm will walk you through important elements of these kinds of cases, including the following.

Employer Liability

Employers can be held liable for workplace racial discrimination, whether the discrimination is perpetrated by supervisors, co-workers, or even third parties (such as clients or customers). Employers can be directly liable for their own actions or vicariously liable for the actions of their employees if they fail to take appropriate corrective measures.

Accommodations and Mitigation

Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for employees' religious practices and beliefs, and similar principles may apply to racial or ethnic practices if they don't create an undue hardship for the employer. Employees who experience discrimination are also expected to take reasonable steps to mitigate the harm, such as reporting the discrimination to appropriate channels within the organization.

Remedies and Relief

If a court finds an employer liable for racial discrimination, remedies may include back pay, front pay, compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive relief (such as policy changes), and attorney fees. The goal is to make the victim whole and deter future discriminatory behavior.

These cases are emotionally charged and complicated. The sooner you are in touch with an experienced racial discrimination attorney, the more likely it is that you will be able to secure a positive outcome.