Unfortunately, racial discrimination is no stranger at the workplace. Even though civil rights laws made race discrimination illegal in the 1960’s, the practice of treating employees differently based on race and racial characteristics such as the shade or color of the skin is still practice in today’s work environment. Today, unconscious biases and prejudices figure highly into cases of race discrimination between employers and employees of the 21st century.
What federal laws address racial discrimination?
The premiere authority on race discrimination is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Indeed, the Civil Rights Act was birthed from the civil right movement of the 1960’s aimed at achieving equality for African Americans in all areas of society. Title VII, which applies to companies with 15 or more employees, protects workers from racial discrimination and discriminatory employment practices in all areas of the employment process including hiring, firing, promotion, wages and salary.
Most states also carry the same prohibitions against racial discrimination in the workplace, often covering a larger swath of employers. For instance, in California law, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) covers employers with 5 or more employees, full time or part-time.
Racial Discrimination and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
When an employee feels that he or she has been discriminated against based on race, the first step toward making a formal legal complaint is to file a charge with the EEOC. The EEOC will investigate the charge to determine whether it should take action in the case. If the EEOC decides not to take action, the employee is then permitted to file a lawsuit in a court of law.
The act of filing a charge with the EEOC must be completed before a racial discrimination case can proceed to court. This is because courts require employees to exhaust all administrative remedies in race discrimination cases before filing suit in court. The EEOC is the chief federal administrative agency responsible for addressing racial discrimination claims in the workplace.
Disparate Treatment and Disparate Impact
Racial discrimination cases fall into two categories: disparate treatment and disparate impact. Disparate treatment describes situations in which race is a motive for the differences in treatment between one employee and others. Disparate impact describes the implementation of employment practices that, although neutral on the surface, are discriminatory in the way that they impact the workforce.
Elements of Racial Discrimination
Employment law outlines the necessary elements required to show that racial discrimination has occurred on the job. First, the employee must show that he or she is a member of a racial minority who applied for and was qualified for the job. The complaining employee must also show even though he was qualified, he was rejected for the job, and afterwards, the employer continued looking for applicants with the same qualifications.
If You Think You Have Experienced Racial Discrimination…
If you think you have experienced racial discrimination at work, you are in definite need of a competent attorney to handle your case. Consider the years of expertise and litigation skill available at Shegerian & Associates. Our legal team is standing by to provide quality care and concern in handling your race discrimination case and to ensure you receive the justice you deserve. Give us a call today.