Racial discrimination has been an issue that has been existing since the colonial and slave era. The white people, considered as the most superior race that time, enjoyed exclusive privileges on the aspect of education, immigration, voting rights, citizenship, acquiring lands, and others. In the modern workplace, despite laws already in place, racial discrimination cases are hard to litigate. According to figures released by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), there were 99,947 charges of employment discrimination in 2011. From that number, 35.4% or 45,395 charges were racial discrimination cases.

However, it is worth noting that only 1.2% of the racial discrimination complaints resulted to a financial reward to the claimant. Likewise, racial discrimination in the workplace is still rampant. According to a recent survey, the gap between white and black employees in the United States can be as high as 30%. In addition, a recent survey of more than 5,200 newly hired workers, black applicants were offered significantly less compensation than white applicants.

What is Racial Discrimination?

Racial discrimination happens when it bases its job decisions on race or when it implements neutral job policies that has a disproportionate effect on employees of a particular race. Three types of discrimination can exist in the workplace:

  • Disparate Treatment

In disparate treatment, an employee claims that they were treated differently than other employees who were in the same situation because of their race. When the employer promotes only white employees as supervisors or requires job seekers of a certain race to undergo drug tests or does not allow employees of certain races to deal with customers. Disparate treatment occurs when an employer discriminates the physical characteristics related to a particular race.

  • Disparate Impact

Disparate impact, on the other hand, happens when the employer adopts an apparently neutral policy that ironically has a negative effect on an employee of a certain race. Requiring male employees to be clean-shaven may have a negative effect on African American male employees as they may suffer from Pseudofolliculitis barbae (a painful skin condition resulting and aggravating from shaving).

  • Racial Harassment

Racial harassment takes place when the conduct of an employee is based on their co-worker’s race which could result to an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment that could hinder work performance. Examples of harassment include racial slurs, jokes about a certain race, and others. However, to qualify as harassment, the behavior must be unwelcome, sufficiently severe, or pervasive.

  • What Can Be Done To Prevent Racial Discrimination?

According to the website of Cary Kane LLP, racial discrimination is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If you are a victim of racial discrimination, you can file the necessary complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It was established by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The agency conducts an investigation of the claim and have the power to issue a “right to sue” allowing you to proceed with the case in a Federal court.

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