Being judged by skin color instead of skills, education, and work ethic is not only wrong, it is illegal. The Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of a person’s race. Employers that violate these anti-discrimination laws may be liable for back wages, monetary damages, and job reinstatement.
Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky Wotkyns LLP has been on the forefront of employment litigation since we started our law firm almost 25 years ago. Our attorneys meticulously build our client’s case, constructing a detailed picture of the discriminatory conduct and consequences to our clients. We cross every “t” and dot every “i” in our investigation and complaint preparation. We have represented clients all over the nation at every level from the state trial courts to the United States Supreme Court.
What is Race Discrimination?
Race discrimination occurs when an employer treats its employees unfairly based on race or perceived race. The person does not have to be the race being discriminated against, but may share certain characteristics like hair type, facial features, skin color, and general appearance. An employee whose spouse or child is another race may also be protected against harassing and discriminatory conduct based upon the family member’s race.
A discriminatory act may involve recruitment, hiring, promotions, wages, fringe benefits, training, shifts, or other employment-related decisions.
Disparate Treatment Versus Disparate Impact
A company policy that specifically treats a member of a certain race differently is unlawful on its face. In addition, a policy that leads to inequitable results may also be unlawful even if the employer had not intended to discriminate against any one group.
For example, a policy that requires all employees to wear their hair in a certain way may be illegal if the hairstyle is difficult for African-Americans, but not for Caucasians. Even though the policy applies to all employees, the result is that African-Americans may be unable to comply and so not be hired for the job.
Harassment is Discrimination
Harassment is considered discrimination. Racial slurs, racists jokes, offensive imagery, use of derogatory terms, and other inappropriate conduct is considered harassment. Usually, a one-time incident is not enough to rise to the level of harassment, unless the single act is very serious. Conversely, minor incidents may become harassing when they are so frequent as to create a hostile work environment or lead to an adverse employment outcome. The harasser may be a colleague, manager, manager in another division, client, customer or vendor.
The victim should let his or her supervisor know about the harassment by following the company’s human resources procedures. Notifying human resources can be an important step in building the case, preserving evidence and thwarting the common defense argument that the employer was unaware of the harassment. In addition, our lawyers advise our clients to keep evidence of the harassing conduct, including text messages, emails, photographs and a diary with dates and descriptions of the offensive incidents.
Learn about Race Discrimination in the Workplace
Learn more about pursuing a race discrimination claim in California, Texas or Arizona at the state and federal levels by scheduling an appointment with Schneider Wallace. For the convenience of our clients, we maintain offices in Houston, San Francisco and Scottsdale. Our employment attorneys have extensive experience in complicated state and federal administrative proceedings and trials.