You give your time, talent, and energy to your employer every day. In exchange, you expected fair compensation and fair treatment on the job. For some employers, the latter of these is not strictly enforced. They do not take racial discrimination and bigotry seriously. They allow workers and people in positions of power to harass, demote, sabotage, and degrade people of color. No one should be treated in this way. If you have been subjected to racism at work, then you must stand up for yourself. You can hold your employer accountable by hiring a racial discrimination lawyer and taking legal action.
The Hardest Thing to Do
You were hired because you possess the knowledge, skills, expertise, and experience to do the job. Your education, resume, and personality are what got you the job and you want to succeed in it. You did not join the company to cause trouble or file complaints. However, you cannot perform and be productive in an environment in which you are subjected to insult or systematic prejudice. You may rankle at the thought of being a victim; presenting yourself in this way may do serious injury to your pride. But the only way to resolve the matter is to file a formal grievance. It will be one of the hardest things that you ever do, but you must do it if you are to make things right in your workplace.
Always Start at the Lowest Possible Level
If you have been the target of racial discrimination, you should raise the matter with the people who have committed the offense. If you feel uncomfortable taking this route, then you should speak to your immediate superior. If they do nothing, then you should review the grievance procedures of your company and follow them to the letter. You will probably be contacted by a HR representative. Once you have told them the things done to you, they are obligated to act.
When You Should Escalate
Companies are not always good at policing themselves. The person or persons responsible for the racist acts may be powerful enough to ensure that your complaint comes to nothing. If you get the run around or hear nothing at all about your complaint, then you will need to go outside the company. You should begin by hiring a racial discrimination lawyer.
The Law is Clear
Racial discrimination law at both the federal and state levels makes it illegal to treat someone unfairly because of skin color, hair texture, facial features, and other such characteristics.
Here are some specific examples of racism that the racial discrimination law forbids:
1. Career and employment discrimination
It is illegal for an employer to hire, fire, compensate, promote, demote, or assign jobs to anyone based on race. It is also illegal for people to receive fringe benefits, special training, or any other favors because of race or to be denied these things for the same reason.
If you have been harassed in the workplace because of your race, then you have a claim to make against your employer. Such harassment can include racial slurs, offensive or derogatory remarks, or racially offensive symbols. The last of these includes computer screen savers, the confederate battle flag, and other such materials. Harassment that is so severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment is illegal. And the harasser can be a co-worker, your supervisor, a supervisor in another area, or a client or customer.
3. Workplace policies and practices
Any employment policy that in theory applies to everyone but in practice negatively impacts people of a certain race and is non-job related is illegal. Your company cannot establish a “no beard” policy, for example, because African American men have a predisposition to a skin condition that causes severe shaving bumps.
It is also forbidden for a company to enact policies that are designed to single out a specific racial or ethnic group. While maintaining personal hygiene and general grooming standards is perfectly fine, companies cannot make rules against hair styles in a way aimed at punishing people of color.
How to File a Charge of Racial Discrimination
If you have been the target of racial discrimination and your company has not dealt with the problem, then you should file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In fact, this is the first step in getting your complaint resolved outside of the company.
You will need to file a Charge of Discrimination form which your racial discrimination attorney can help you complete. The form is a signed statement that claims you have been discriminated against and requests the EEOC to take remedial action.
Please note the following. You must submit a Charge of Discrimination form to the EEOC before you can file a job discrimination lawsuit.
The first step in the process is to submit an online inquiry. An EEOC representative will contact and interview you. You will then need to submit your Charge of Discrimination form through the EEOC public portal. You must file within 60 days of the interview. The EEOC will then carry out an investigation of your complaint. They will submit their findings to you and your legal team. The agency does not normally involve itself in discrimination lawsuits. However, the findings of its investigation can be used by your racial discrimination attorney.
Building a Case Against Your Employer
West Coast Employment Lawyers specialize in helping people protect their legal rights in racial discrimination cases. The lawyer you hire will offer you the guidance and insight you need through each step of the process. The actions taken by your attorney will depend on how you want to resolve the case. If you were fired on racial grounds, you may want to be reinstated and to receive damages for the pain and suffering you have had to endure. If you have been harassed or intimidated or had your career sabotaged, then you may want the people responsible for this injustice held to account. You may also want changes made to how the company deals with such complaints, and a reasonable amount of money in damages.
West coast employment lawyers handle cases like this all the time. They know how to approach employers and open negotiations with them. It may be possible to settle the case without filing a lawsuit. If your attorney is compelled to file a lawsuit, then they will subpoena all documents, including emails, text messages, and social media posts, related to your case. They will also take depositions from the individuals involved.
Racial discrimination cases can charge public opinion and tarnish the brand and reputation of your employer. They will be eager to minimize the damage done to them. They will want to avoid a long drawn out trial that is certain to get a great deal of media attention. Your lawyer can use this fact to your advantage. They can bring the facts of the case to bear and pressure your employer to offer a reasonable settlement.
If you have been targeted by racists and bigots at your company, you need not take it. You can hold such people to account and you can get restitution from your employer for tolerating such behavior.