All About Racial Discrimination at the Workplace

Race discrimination at work occurs when you are treated differently or unequally because of your race. It can also occur if you are treated differently because you are related to someone of a particular race. Race discrimination encompasses different behaviors due to someone’s color, citizenship, ethnic origin or nationality. If race discrimination occurs in a US workplace, then it is illegal and companies must take necessary actions to prevent such incidents.

How to Identify Race Discrimination in the Workplace?

Whether during the recruitment process or normal working hours, identifying racial discrimination can be challenging. Furthermore, it becomes an even bigger problem due to the fact that if the person does not admit his or her discriminatory practices, it becomes difficult for you to prove your side of the story. It’s also complicated to file workplace discrimination claims, against employers, interviewers, or supervisors who are unaware of their discriminative behavior towards you. Generally, a majority of race discrimination behaviors are fairly obvious like referring to an individual using derogatory terms or cracking jokes that are racially insensitive. However, in other subtle cases, you will need to have more substantial evidence to support your case. Below we have highlighted a couple of such less obvious cases of racial discrimination -:

● When an organization hires an individual due to their race, even though another applicant holds the same qualifications.

● Racially inappropriate hiring trends in a specific industry

● Clients being uncomfortable while dealing with employees of a particular race

These are cases that do not usually have direct evidence, and therefore, are considered difficult to prove.

Direct Discrimination

Direct race discrimination happens when an individual is treated less favorably compared to someone else who would be treated in a similar situation just because of the former’s race. In order to prove direct workplace discrimination, it would be in your favor if you can highlight an example of someone from a different racial association who was treated differently than you in a similar situation. Common types of direct workplace discrimination include racist abuse and harassment.

For instance, if you belong to a particular racial community and your employer refuses to hire you simply because you are a specific race, then this is a clear example of direct discrimination in an organization. Even if you are connected to someone of a particular racial group and that becomes the reason not to appoint you, then this is also direct racial discrimination.

Indirect Racial Discrimination

Indirect racial discrimination occurs when there are different rules, policies or practices which are only applicable to employees belonging to a particular racial group, nationality, or ethnicity. An example of indirect racial discrimination in the workplace includes the banning of women from donning headscarves or making a rule to wear only formal skirts to work. Even when the employers insist that employees must speak in fluent English, it can be categorized as indirect discrimination.

If you think you have experienced indirect racial discrimination, then you may want to file a complaint against the company or individual. However, if the company or person can prove that the reason behind that particular rule, practice or policy is genuinely neutral and has nothing to do with any race, then it would not be considered racial discrimination.

Racial discrimination has been a part of the workplace for centuries now. While earlier, there were no strong rules to protect minorities rights, today there are plenty of protections in place. All that is required now is being aware of what racial discrimination is and what rights you have, so that you can protect yourself.




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Hi, I'm Dale. Some of the things I like to do are box, lift weights, and spend time with my beautiful wife Crystal. I also enjoy watching shows on Netflix or playing video games with my son when I can find some free time.

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