How to Deal with Racial Discrimination at Work

August 1, 2018 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
How to Deal with Racial Discrimination at Work

Florida Racial Discrimination Law

In 1964 the United States saw a historical breakthrough for civil rights with the signing of the Civil Rights Act. This legislation helped to stop the widespread injustice among marginalized groups in the United States by prohibiting unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools, public accommodations, and employment. Individuals that saw unequal treatment because of religion, sex, national origin, race, and ethnicity gained equal access to things they would otherwise be denied without discrimination protections. As time has passed, anti-discrimination legislation has only grown stronger with new legislation strengthening marginalized groups' abilities to take legal action against discrimination. Believe it or not, these civil liberties afforded to marginalized groups in the United States were actually fought against especially in the southern United States where racial discrimination was and still is the strongest in the country. Racial discrimination is still around today and can be found in the workplace where promotions can be denied, pay unequal, racist harassment, and jobs can be terminated illegally on the basis of race.

Racial Employment Discrimination is Illegal

We have come a long way as a country when it comes to stopping racial discrimination in the workplace. Thanks to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, racially discriminatory employment practices are very much illegal on the federal level. On top of that, Florida state law works to prevent racial discrimination too to allow those that experience it an opportunity to seek legal action.

What is Racial Employment Discrimination?

Most of the time racial discrimination in the workplace hardly needs to be pointed out to who its happening to since it can be very frustrating and emotionally compromising. Sometimes, racial discrimination can be much more subtle and fly under the radar so it's important to maintain a good awareness of the various ways an employer can discriminate. Racial employment discrimination can be defined as the treatment of a specific employee differently because of their race. Typically this treatment will generally be a negative force on their state of employment. For example, a black employee might notice that a white employee that has been for the company half as long as them has received a raise in pay higher than them for the same position.

Difficulty in Proving Racial Discrimination

In the previous example it would seem fairly clear that there is some kind of racial discrimination at play when determining pay raises but there is a difference between personal observation and how an employer can rationalize all kinds of decisions that appear racially biased. In the previous example, an employer might rationalize their decision to increase the pay of a less experienced employee because they believe their work to be exemplary and deserving of reward or they might claim that the other employee was not overlooked because of their race but because their work had been not up to par.

Racial Discrimination can be Subtle

Racial discrimination can sometimes go completely undetected by an employee that is being discriminated against. This is usually because many decisions that an employer makes within the company are not always broadcast out to the many employees working there. Like in the last example, raises are usually between the employee and employer but sometimes word may get out to other employees because of pride or error. In the case of hiring, it can be difficult to prove that race was the deciding factor in why an employer did not hire someone unless they ask questions about someone's race or something equally illegal. It should be noted that employers can ask questions about race when it pertains to affirmative action programs. Rarely does a prospective employee have all the information on all the other people trying to get the job and how the employer came to a decision on who to hire. This doesn't mean that there is no hope. There are several ways that racial discrimination in the workplace can be identified.

Racial Discrimination Identification

Racial discrimination in the workplace can be shown through comparison between employees of different races to demonstrate how a policy or decision may have been biased. In the previous pay raise example, comparison of both individuals credentials and experience could be used as circumstantial evidence. In addition to this, examination of trends an employer's decisions follow can show a racial bias if they continually show unfavorable treatment towards a particular race.

Steps to take After Racial Discrimination

If you believe that you have experienced racial discrimination in your workplace then be sure to maintain detailed records on the how and why you believed it happened. Dates, times, involved parties, etc can be of use in an investigation. You may want to talk to a superior, or in the case of a superior being the one discriminating, a superior's superior about the discrimination you faced and what they can do about it. Sometimes a situation can be resolved this way with all parties satisfied. If that isn't the case then you will want to file an employment discrimination claim against the company. The institution in charge of dealing with these claims is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They investigate and determine whether an incident of racial discrimination takes place after a complaint is filed with them.

Seek an Experienced Florida Employment Law Attorney

One of the best steps to take if you feel you have experienced racial discrimination in your workplace is to speak to a lawyer about the legal action that you can take. They can provide a wealth of resources that can aid in your pursuit of justice. If you or a loved one have been discriminated against in the workplace based on your, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, or national origin, then do not hesitate to Contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA about receiving a free consultation on your claim. Our skilled lawyers have the expertise that you will need to secure the compensation you deserve. Contact us at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA's offices. Please call us at 727-451-6900. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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