Every employee deserves to go to work without the fear of facing discrimination based on their race, ethnicity, or nationality. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Workplace discrimination occurs throughout the country in many forms. This illegal misconduct of employers constitutes a violation of a worker’s civil rights guaranteed under state and federal laws.
Discriminatory Employer Practices
Under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers may not discriminate based on race. This also includes discrimination based on the physical characteristics of one’s race, including skin color, hair texture, or facial features. Any action taken by an employer solely because of the race of their employee can constitute illegal discrimination.
Workplace racial discrimination may appear in an employer’s decisions and actions regarding:
- Providing benefits
- Classifying or segregating
- Job training
- Drug testing
- Giving employees opportunities to deal with the public
- Allowing an employee to join a union or trade association
When an employee is treated differently with respect to any of these job actions due to their race, they experienced illegal disparate impact discrimination.
Disparate Impact Discrimination
Another frequent type of racial discrimination occurs when an employer adopts a personnel policy disproportionately affecting employees of a certain race. Although an employee may not have been intentionally singled out for different treatment, if a company policy has a disproportionate negative impact on one race, discrimination may be occurring.
This type of discrimination often can be seen in employment policies based on physical requirements, which are easier for some races to meet, such as minimum height or clean-shaven face requirements. Employers must be able to demonstrate a legitimate and significant job-related purpose for these types of employment policies. Other successful disproportionate impact claims involved hiring bans on applicants with arrest or conviction records.
Harassment as Discrimination
Harassing behavior of employers directed at employees of certain races or color may also fall within the definition of illegal racial discrimination. Conduct creating an intimidating or hostile working environment also constitutes harassment.
Common types of racial harassment in the workplace include:
- Racially motivated insults or slurs
- Racially offensive jokes
- Physical segregation or isolation from other employees
- Exclusion from certain activities
- Verbal harassment
When this type of behavior creates a hostile work environment, racial discrimination has occurred.
Compensation for Victims of Race Discrimination
Racial discrimination violates an individual’s civil rights. Individuals experiencing workplace racial discrimination may be entitled to compensation for back or future wages, counseling services, job assistance services, and emotional distress damages. In some cases, courts have awarded large punitive damages awards. In New Jersey, employees are protected by the federal Civil Rights Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), both which require all businesses to comply with workplace discrimination laws. By filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, victims of workplace racial discrimination can seek the justice they deserve.
Proving the existence of workplace racial discrimination, which is often subtle in nature, can be difficult without the assistance of an experienced workplace discrimination lawyer. For example, to establish a claim of discriminatory hiring or promoting, individuals may need to examine the hiring trends of their employer to show that less qualified individuals have been hired over higher qualified applicants of certain races.
Strict deadlines apply to filing a state and federal workplace discrimination claim. Workers who experienced racial discrimination should not wait to seek compensation or they may forfeit their rights to later bring a claim against their employer.
South Jersey Workplace Discrimination Lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC Protect Those Suffering Race Discrimination in the Workplace
If you or a loved one experienced racial discrimination at work, the experienced South Jersey workplace discrimination lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC are here to help. We will fight on behalf of New Jersey workers, protecting their right to a workplace free of discrimination and harassment. Located in Mount Laurel and Atlantic City, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Burlington County, and Camden County. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 856-235-7075 or contact us online.