Dealing With Racial Discrimination In The Workplace
Racial and Ethnic Discrimination is a type of discrimination based on the race or ethnicity of a particular employee. Racial discrimination is strictly prohibited by federal & state laws across all 50 states. Despite this, it is still a major problem in both private and public companies alike.
The Fair Employment & Housing Act (FEHA) protects victims of this type of discrimination. If you need help, or more information about what to do to deal with racial discrimination, call Younessi Law at (323)777-7777 for a FREE consultation.
Different Types of Racial Discrimination
The difficulty in proving discrimination based on a persons’ race makes it harder to prosecute. Some common examples of racial discrimination in the workplace can include:
Failing to hire a qualified person based on their race
Stereotyping, or making decisions about someone's’ work based on their race or ethnicity
Segregating employees of a certain race to particular jobs or locations
Treating an employee differently based on their race or ethnicity
Jokes or comments made against someone's race
Harassment based on someone’s race
Race vs Ethnicity
A popular misconception of racial discrimination is the differentiation between color. While some may use race & color interchangeably in conversation, the two are not the same when it comes to discrimination. Color typically refers to one’s skin tone or complexion, while race is a reference to someone’s ethnic heritage. This is an important distinction to make because it makes a difference in how a discrimination lawsuit is filed & tried in a court of law.
Racial discrimination can be difficult to prove in court. For you to prove you have been treated negatively based on your race, you must show you were treated negatively with clear examples. This is done by either direct or indirect evidence that you provide to the court.
What is Direct Evidence?
Direct evidence can be hard to get, but in some cases, an employee will have direct proof of discrimination. This may include emails, company memos or witnesses who have heard or seen the discrimination occur before.
What is Indirect Evidence?
Indirect Evidence has four different parts when it comes to racial discrimination laws:
You are protected under discrimination laws.
You are qualified for the job you are applying for or you are performing your job sufficiently
You were denied the job, promotion or benefit or faced a demotion/termination based on your race
The person who received the job promotion or benefit was a different race. Or, the company continued to look for applicants after denying you the job.
How to Identify Racial Discrimination
One of the problems with combating racial discrimination is how difficult it is to prove. How exactly can someone say why another person made a particular decision to hire an individual, or give another person a promotion? You have to look at the details in the employer's behavior for clues of underlying racism.
Here are a few ways you can identify racial discrimination against you by your employer:
Job Classification: Many employers have several job tiers. In cases of discrimination, a person may take on more responsibilities and tasks without receiving a pay increase or change in job title.
Pay: In this case, a person of a particular race can promote to a new position. But an employee of another race with a lesser degree still earns more, despite their own work ethic, experience or seniority. This is like job classification, but it is also very important to note for new/potential hires.
Promotion: If someone does good work, gets good reviews, and takes initiative to make sure things are done properly, the person is a good worker. If they apply for a promotion, and get overlooked in favor of a less qualified person of another race, this could be a sign of racial discrimination.
Firing: Every company has layoffs. But when minorities get fired while other, less qualified employees of a different race get to keep their job, this may be a sign of discrimination.
Harassment: If a co-worker uses racial slurs or jokes, this is harassment. If this happens to you, you will need to first call attention to the insult and tell your superior. If your company does nothing, this could be an example of discrimination against you.
In some cases, an employer could be applying a racial bias or discriminatory behavior without realizing it. Some companies lee[ hiring practices, tests, or policies that accidentally single out certain races. If not for a legitimate purpose or properly explained by an employer, such practices are unlawful
What To Do If You’re A Victim of Racial Discrimination
Find someone you trust. The first step you should take as an employee is to find someone you trust that can be an unbiased observer to the discriminatory behavior. This person will provide another view from your own, and corroborate your claims against an employers racism. This can be a fellow colleague, spouse, therapist, or whoever you trust. It is better to speak with a trusted friend first, as you will need to prove that the treatment is related to your race, and not against you personally. Once you can prove the treatment is because of your race, speak to your companies HR department.
Document Everything. Once you can prove you're being treated unfairly because of your race, it’s time to contact a lawyer. Document any and all interactions that you feel may help your case in proving your employers racist behavior. This includes both positive and negative interactions, like emails, texts, and performance reviews. Everything counts when it comes to providing proof.
Contact Younessi Law at (323)777-7777 for a free case evaluation if you or someone you know is dealing with racial discrimination. With over 24 years of servicing Los Angeles County, we can help you get the compensation and justice you deserve.