Harassment and Other Forms of Discrimination
The laws governing racial discrimination cover a wide range of potential issues. In addition to protections for individuals of different races, Title VII also prohibits bias based on your association with someone of a different race. If you are married to an individual of a different race or are involved in any association or group generally associated with a minority group, your rights are covered under Title VII protections.
Harassment based on race is also considered racial discrimination. Racial harassment can take many forms, including racial slurs, offensive or derogatory remarks, and displaying racially-offensive symbols. Any actions that create an offensive or hostile work environment can be considered racial discrimination.
Hire an Advocate
Because the burden of proof falls on the individual who instigates the suit and because employers have teams of attorneys on retainer to protect the company from lawsuits, successfully winning discrimination cases against your workplace can be difficult. However, with the help of a qualified racial discrimination attorney from Chanfrau & Chanfrau, you can pursue remedial actions, which may include:
- Back pay
- Front pay
In some cases, you can even seek punitive damages to punish the employer for their unfair and illegal behaviors.
Disparate Treatment vs. Disparate Impact Discrimination
Racial discrimination can manifest in many different ways, but two of the most common types are disparate treatment and disparate impact discrimination.
Disparate Treatment Discrimination
Disparate treatment alleges that an employer singled out certain employees and treated them differently than others in similar positions because of their race. For example, an employer may only promote employees of a certain race to supervisory positions or they might only let workers of a certain race handle customers. They might discriminate on the basis of physical characteristics such as skin color, hair texture, facial features, or any other traits associated with a particular race.
Disparate Impact Discrimination
In contrast, disparate impact discrimination does not claim that employers singled out employees of a certain race. Instead, it may claim that the employer's supposedly neutral policies impacted employees of a certain race disproportionately. For example, a policy that forbids hairstyles such as cornrow braids or dreadlocks not only cost black employees more money to maintain, but also make them feel less welcome in the workplace.
At Chanfrau & Chanfrau, we are willing to take on large corporations to defend your rights.
Unfortunately, racial discrimination can be upheld in the workplace in a myriad of ways, including:
- Being physically segregated or isolated from employees of a different race
- Being excluded from activities that involve customer interaction when co-workers of another race are included
- Having your complaints ignored when you bring up incidents of racial discrimination that has made you feel uncomfortable
- Being refused a promotion for a position that was ultimately filled by an applicant of a different race who was less qualified
- Being laid off along with other people in your racial group while employees of another racial group were retained
- Not getting benefits or opportunities to advance within the organization that employees of another race are getting
Notable Racial Discrimination Cases
One of the most notable racial discrimination cases in recent years took place in May 2017. Rosebud Restaurants agreed to pay $1.9 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against 13 Chicago-area restaurants. The restaurants were charged with refusing to hire black applicants and using racial slurs. As a result, a monetary award was paid to the applicants who were denied jobs. Additionally, the restaurants agreed to implement hiring standards that required at least 11 percent of its workforce to be African-American.
A few years earlier, in 2013, U-Haul agreed to pay $750,000 to a group of 8 current and former black employees. The employees had been subjected to racial slurs from their supervisor on a regular basis. When one of them complained of the harassment to the company's president, they were fired. The company now must maintain an anti-discrimination policy that prohibits racial harassment and retaliation, in addition to other measures.
What To Do If You Are Facing Racial Harassment
Here are a few steps you can take if you are experiencing racial harassment at work:
- Tell the Harasser the Conduct is Unwelcome: Inform your harasser that his or her behavior is unwelcome and that it must stop. You can do this verbally, in writing, or through your actions.
- Report the Harasser: Report the harasser as soon as possible. In order to hold your employer legally responsible for the offender’s conduct, they must know that it occurred. Tell your supervisor, HR, or another person in a position of power within the company.
- Take Notes: Write down exactly what happened and be as specific as possible. The date, place, time, and witnesses all matter. If there are witnesses, ask them to document what happened in writing.
- Maintain Your Records: Your harasser may try to defend his or her conduct by attacking your job performance, so gather copies of performance evaluations and any other written statements about the quality of your work. You should also keep a record of any formal complaints you file.
Fighting for You
At Chanfrau & Chanfrau, we are willing to take on large corporations to defend your rights. Call our office in Daytona at (386) 258-7313 or in Palm Coast at (386) 439-7760 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation with our team.