The Declaration of Independence says all men and women are created equal, yet racial discrimination in the workplace still persists, challenging the conception of the country's democracy. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed to protect individuals against employment discrimination on the bases of race and color, in addition to national origin, sex and religion. Generations of discrimination and prejudices have kept qualified individuals from landing jobs and advancing, but under Title VII, job related issues are supposed to be based on merit and performance; prohibiting intentional discrimination and neutral job policies that disproportionately exclude minorities and that are not job related.
Simply put, it is illegal under Federal and State laws to discriminate on the basis of a person's race or color. In 2004, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of the United States received 27,696 complaints of racial discrimination in the workplace. The commission said it has received an increasing number of color discrimination charges. Since the mid-1990s, color bias filings, according to the commission, have increased by 125 percent. Racial discrimination in the workplace is not only illegal, but it is cruel and debilitating.
In the United States, major strides have been made in achieving equality in the workplace, but racial discrimination still exists. These days, racial discrimination is not as overt, making it harder to identify at times. No matter what form racial discrimination presents itself in, employers and employees must realize it is illegal, and allowing it to continue only feeds into the disturbing and problematic practice.
Because some people might fear putting their jobs on the line by speaking out about racial discrimination, it is important to become educated about the subject and understand your rights. Federal employment laws do not tolerate prejudice, and penalties for racial discrimination exist. In addition to filing a complaint with the EEOC, individuals should not hesitate to contact a qualified attorney. Remedies for employees who have suffered racial discrimination exist under Title VII.
If you have believe you have been the target of racial discrimination, remedies under Title VII allow:
- reinstatement and promotion
- recovery of wages and job connected losses
- money damages
- injunctive relief (when a company is ordered to change its policies in order to stop discrimination)
- and payment of attorney's fees.
Racial discrimination affects the quality of life for employees being treated unfairly, but legal options do exist. If you have been discriminated against on the basis of race, please contact us to confer with an attorney.
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