Race Discrimination

The law prohibits employers from discriminating against or harassing employees or job applicants because of their race, color, or national origin.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, and the Virginia Human Rights Act prohibit race discrimination and harassment in employment.

These laws make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race in any aspect of employment. This includes hiring, firing, layoffs, compensation, benefits, job assignments, promotions, training, or other conditions of employment.

These laws also prohibit harassing an employee because of her or his race. Harassment can include offensive jokes or demeaning comments about a person’s race, if the comments are so frequent or severe that they create an abusive work environment. Race-based demeaning comments can include statements about an employee’s physical features, hairstyle, skin tone, or demeaning stereotypes. Racial harassment can also involve the use of racial slurs, displaying racist items or images, or telling racist jokes in the workplace.

Here are some examples of conduct that could be race discrimination:

  • Hiring or promoting someone outside of your race even though you were more qualified;
  • Providing you with lower pay or benefits than to those outside of your race, even though you do the same jobs;
  • Terminating, demoting, or denying you promotions because of your race, even though you perform your job better than those of other races who were not terminated, demoted, or denied promotions;

  • Having a policy that may sound neutral but actually favors one race over the other.

Here are some examples of conduct that could be racial harassment:

  • Your supervisor or co-workers persistently make offensive or derogatory statements connected to race;

  • Your supervisor or co-workers persistently make racial or racially motivated jokes;

  • Your supervisor displays, or allows co-workers to display, racially offensive symbols or items in the workplace, like nooses or confederate flags;

  • You report the racially harassing behavior to your employer, and your employer does not investigate and take steps to prevent further harassment.

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    If you believe you have suffered from workplace discrimination based on your race, attorney Tim Coffield is ready to speak with you.