RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IS ALL TOO PREVALENT IN THE WORKPLACE

While racial discrimination is less severe today than it once was, it has not, by any means, vanished from the landscape. In fact, it is the most widespread basis for federal employment discrimination claims, representing more than 35 percent of the charges in 2005. According to a 2003 Milwaukee study, whites with criminal records were called back after interviews more frequently than blacks without criminal records. A 2003 California study showed that temporary placement agencies chose whites over African Americans at a ratio of 3:1. A 2002 Boston study found that résumés with white-sounding names were more than twice as likely to be selected than those bearing black-sounding names, even though the resumes were similarly impressive. If you feel that you have been discriminated against because of your race, contact race-discrimination lawyers in New York City who will evaluate your claim.

Racial bias

If an employer makes an employment-related decision based upon race, the employer has violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Racially motivated decisions are not only the products of blatant racial animosity, but also may emerge from more subtle forms of biased thinking that assign labels to people without regard to their  individual attributes and abilities. Thus, if a hiring manager suggests that a qualified African American does not have a “clean-cut image” or does not fit into their  “upscale location” or does not possess the soft skills necessary for the job —  and an investigation demonstrates these statements to be false — an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) examiner may find racial bias. If you believe you have been denied job opportunities based on racial bias, it is important to consult an experienced New York City race discrimination attorney who can assess your claim.

What constitutes race?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not provide a definition for the word “race,” but instead prohibits discrimination based upon a series of racially descriptive categories, including:

  • Ancestry: Ethnic descent or lineage, as in Asian or African American 
  • Physical attributes: Facial characteristics, skin color, hair type, height or weight that is associated with a specific racial category
  • Diseases connected to race: For instance, sickle-cell anemia, which is transmitted genetically and primarily affects people of African descent. For an employer to show that the exclusion of treatment for these illnesses was not racially motivated, the employer must show that they utilized accepted medical standards in making that determination.
  • Culture: Certain cultural attributes, such as dress modes, names, hair styles, speech mannerisms or accents that are connected to race
  • Perception and belief: A belief, even if incorrect, that a person is a member of a certain racial or ethnic group
  • Association: Marriage to or friendships and associations with persons of a racial group.
  • Race plus: Sometimes, the discrimination is based upon a combination of two or more factors. For example, if an employer refused to hire a black woman with young children, even though the employer was willing to hire a white woman with young children.

It’s important to stay well informed of your rights, so you can take prompt and appropriate action. Consult a knowledgeable attorney at the Akin Law Group.