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Race Discrimination

Race discrimination involves any element of unfair treatment placed upon an applicant for a job or an existing employee because they are of a certain race or ethnicity. This type of discrimination also applies to physical and personal characteristics associated with their race, such as skin color, hair texture and facial features.

Race discrimination can also apply if the individual is treated unfavorably because they are married to somebody or associated with somebody of a certain race, color or ethnicity. Race discrimination can occur between individuals of any race or ethnicity, not just between people of different races or ethnicities.

Applicants for a position may not be favorably or unfavorably considered for a position solely on the basis of their race or ethnicity, nor may any employee be discriminated against in any aspect of employment, such as hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment, solely due to their race or ethnicity.

The same protection applies for harassment in the workplace. No employee or applicant may be negatively harassed in the workplace because of their race or ethnicity. Although the law does not protect against “simple teasing,” teasing becomes harassment if the behavior is consistent and malicious enough to create a hostile work environment or results in an adverse employment decision (such as being fired or demoted).

For example, the use of offensive nicknames that replace an applicant, intern, full time or part time employee’s actual name are a textbook example of harassment. Every employee deserves the dignity of being referred to by their legal name, and not harassed by a mocking nickname that lampoons their race or ethnicity as a joke.

Race discrimination may also apply to the standards and practices of places of employment, should they adversely affect a particular race of people. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides an example of a “no beard” policy, which may cause undue trouble for people of African American descent, as they are more likely to have a predisposition for skin irritation caused by shaving.

Color discrimination

Similar but not synonymous to race and ethnicity discrimination is color discrimination, which can apply to people of every different race and ethnicity in the world. “Color,” can apply to skin complexion, pigmentation, as well as skin shade and tone. The same protections exist against discrimination that targets people solely because of the physical appearance of their skin.

Race, ethnicity and color discrimination is a serious offense

All employees have a federally-protected right to equal employment opportunities, regardless of the color of their skin or the place that their ancestors hailed from. It is simply unacceptable for any employer in a modern society to engage in unfair practices because of personal biases and ignorance surrounding these factors.

Discrimination due to race and skin color can take many forms, such as skipping people for promotions, working certain employees harder, assigning more difficult responsibilities for lesser pay, being less lenient and more stringent with penalties, being more likely to terminate an employee for fewer instances of workplace errors and creating a generally unfair work environment.

If you or anybody you know or love has been victimized by discriminatory practices that stem from their race, ethnicity or skin color, you have grounds for legal action against that employer. However, in order to prove that your treatment was the direct result of racial discrimination, you will more than likely need legal assistance to make your case as strong as possible.

At Altman & Altman LLP, we have over 40 years of experience handling a wide array of discrimination cases within the workplace, whether they involve race, ethnicity or skin color. We believe in equal rights and fairness under the law for every employee and every individual, and will work tirelessly to obtain the justice you are entitled to and deserve.

We offer free consultations of your case to go over details, and provide a smart approach to move forward with either a settlement or additional legal action. We do not collect any payment unless you are successful in a claim. Call us for a free consultation today at 617.492.3000 or toll-free at 800.481.6199. We are available 24/7.

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