Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964 outlaws workplace discrimination on the basis of one’s race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sex, age, pregnancy status, and disability. This means that no matter your job or where you work, it is illegal for your employer to discriminate against you or allow discrimination to occur. Despite this, racial discrimination is still one of the most pervasive forms of discrimination in the work environment, but it’s not always as outright as it used to be. If we want to stop this kind of hatred in its tracks, we must be able to recognize and identify it. To help you with this process, let’s review five examples of racial discrimination in the workplace.
Ultimately, every qualified employee should have the same opportunity to receive a promotion or a raise. All too often, people of color must be overly qualified to get considered equal to their peers and do more than their colleagues to be truly recognized for their efforts. This can lead to an imbalance of promotions, and in some cases, you may see one group of people receive promotions over another. The larger the company is and the more workers it has, the less likely this is to be a simple coincidence.
Racial stereotyping involves making vast generalizations and assumptions about how a person looks or acts based on their actual or perceived race. For example, say an employer hires a person of Chinese descent to be a new branch manager. The employer tells this new employee they’re excited to have a Japanese person working for their company because he believes Japanese people are inherently more intelligent. In this scenario, the employer is making assumptions about their race based on appearance, and blanket generalizations should always get taken seriously, no matter how harmless they seem.
As mentioned, people of color often must work harder to prove themselves and are typically held to a higher standard by their employers. When this occurs, it leaves room for harsh, unfair, or overly critical employers who point out every flaw. Of course, receiving critique from an employer isn’t illegal, nor is it inherently a bad thing. However, when employers give a disproportionate amount of harsh critique to one group over another, there is likely something deeper at play. While constructive criticism is necessary, harsh or cruel criticism is not.
Many companies have specific policies regarding what qualifies or exempts a person from getting hired and how an employee should dress and act. However, these policies should equally apply to everyone, and one group should not get held to a different set of standards. For example, an employer cannot bar you from wearing religious or culturally significant garments or hairstyles. An employer cannot have a policy that bars certain citizenship statuses unless required by the law, such as only allowing US citizens to apply.
As mentioned, racial discrimination isn’t always as overt as it used to be, but that doesn’t mean the use of racial slurs, threats, violence, and explicit discrimination doesn’t occur. A person getting mocked for their accent, the use of racial slurs and epithets, physical violence, or the insulting of someone’s culture are all examples of this. Remember that you are not responsible for how another person acts, and it is up to your employer to take the correct putative action.
Being aware of these examples of workplace racial discrimination can help you identify racism and protect yourself and other colleagues. If your employer refuses to act or is the aggressor in these scenarios, contact race discrimination lawyer Tamara N. Holder today. We’re dedicated to uprooting bigotry in the work environment and doing everything possible to stop it.