Race Discrimination in the Workplace
In 1866, the United States passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of race or color. Since then, various state and federal civil rights laws have been passed which strengthen the protections available and that categorically prohibit any type of discrimination on the basis of race or national origin. Unfortunately, despite the extensive protections in place, racial discrimination still happens in workplaces in New York, New Jersey and across the country.
If you have been terminated or subjected to a hostile work environment because of your race in New York or New Jersey, you can take action. You can stand up and tell your employer that discrimination in is not OK. You may also be entitled to a variety of legal remedies, including back pay and emotional distress.
While the damages available under the law are extensive, making a claim for race discrimination and collecting the full amount of compensation available can be complicated. You need a strong legal advocate on your side.
For more than three decades, the New York and New Jersey attorneys at Ginarte Gonzalez & Winograd have been representing victims of discrimination. We can put our experience to work for you to help you take a stand against racially discriminatory practices.
Call now for a free consultation at 888-GINARTE (446-2783), or fill out our online contact form.
Laws Against Race and National Origin Discrimination
In Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal government made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, color, national origin and religion. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was given the power to investigate claims of discrimination and to take action against employers who behave in a discriminatory manner. Federal laws also give discrimination victims the right to file a lawsuit, although claimants may be required to make a complaint to the EEOC first, before filing their own suit.
Laws in the states of New York and New Jersey also prevent racial discrimination and discrimination on the basis of national origin. In New York, the New York State Division of Human Rights and the New York City Commission on Civil Rights work to enforce anti-discrimination laws. In the Superior Court of New Jersey, racial discrimination in the workplace is banned by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Victims of discrimination file claims under state anti-discrimination laws without first going to the EEOC or other administrative agencies which is often required in federal discrimination cases.
If you have been the victim of racial, ethnic or national origin discrimination, you should speak with an experienced NY / NJ race discrimination lawyer at the Ginarte law firm to determine under which law or laws it makes sense to file your claim. Choosing to make a claim under federal law versus state law, or vice versa, could have a major impact on how your legal claim unfolds.
What is Racial or National Origin Discrimination?
It is easy to say that race discrimination is illegal, but it can be a little bit more of a challenge to determine exactly what constitutes racial discrimination. Some types of racial discrimination are obvious, such as if an employer refuses to hire or promote people who are African-American, Hispanic or Latino, from the Middle East or who are otherwise from “minority” groups.
Blatant discrimination or an outright refusal to hire or promote someone because of race or national origin is not as common as it used to be. Most employers these days try not to be obvious about racial discrimination since they know that it can get them in trouble. Often, even when this type of discrimination exists or when an employer shows a preference for particular races or national origins, the discrimination will be identified by looking at the employer’s hiring records, promotion records and other such data that show a clear racial or ethnic preference. For this reason, the EEOC requires businesses to report the demographic information of employees and job applicants.
Aside from the type of discrimination where an employer discriminates in hiring, firing or promotion on the basis of race, there are also other kinds of racial discrimination in the workplace. For example, employers may be guilty of:
- Disparate impact discrimination – If an employer imposes a job test that seems to be relevant to the job on its face, but that actually disqualifies a larger percentage of minorities or protected individuals, this can be a form of discrimination. For example, if an employer running a gardening company was in an area where a high percentage of people of a certain race did not have a college degree, the employer could be guilty of disparate impact discrimination if the employer mandated that all applicants for a gardening job have a college degree. The reason that this would be considered disparate impact is because there likely really isn’t any actual reason why a college degree would be necessary for a gardening job, so the effect of the employer’s actions would solely be to disqualify a larger percentage of people of the certain race.In order to determine if disparate impact exists, it is necessary both to look at whether the “test” or requirement disqualifies a high percentage of people of a certain race and to look at whether the requirement or qualification is actually necessary.
- Hostile work environment discrimination – This kind of discrimination exists when an employer allows a person to be subjected to a hostile workplace environment on the basis of race, national origin or other protected status. The conduct must be severe or pervasive. For example, if an African-American were working at an office where racist jokes were frequently told, this could be considered an example of a hostile work environment.Hostile work environments are often created by employees, rather than by management. Employers and companies can still be held legally liable and subject to a lawsuit for discrimination if they knew or should have known about the hostile work environment and failed to stop it.
Broad Protection Against Discrimination
The wide definition of discrimination under the law aims to ensure that no individual is impacted in any way in his or her employment as a result of race, national origin, color or other protected status. In fact, the laws intend to prevent any type of discrimination related to hiring, firing or any of the terms and conditions of employment.
Discrimination, therefore, can encompass written policies and job requirements that covertly or openly discriminate. Discrimination can also mean a requirement that people refrain from speaking in their native language, that people not dress in certain ways or that people not practice their native or cultural customs.
If you have concerns about whether you have been victimized by discrimination or if you feel your employer has been treating you unfairly in any way related to your race, national origin, color or other protected status, you should schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney to determine if your employer can be held liable under federal, state and local civil rights laws. These laws exist for a reason, and the protections they provide are important ones, not only because you can suffer financial damage as a result of an employer’s discrimination, but also because society as a whole suffers when employers fail to provide an inclusive and accepting work environment not affected by race and ethnic background.
Contact Our NY / NJ Racial Discrimination Attorneys Today
If you believe that you have been discriminated against at work because of your race or ethnic background, the NY / NJ racial discrimination lawyers at the Ginarte law firm can help you recover compensation for your losses, pain and suffering. We have 35 attorneys ready to help you with your race discrimination claim.
Contact a Ginarte law firm race discrimination attorney for a free consultation at 888-GINARTE (446-2783), or fill out our online contact form. We know what it takes to get you the money you deserve. We collect attorney’s fees only if you win your case.
Call today or visit one of our eight NY / NJ offices: Manhattan, Queens, Newark, Union City, Elizabeth, Clifton, Perth Amboy and New Brunswick.