New York race discrimination attorneys at Leeds Brown understand that discrimination is pervasive in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone with regard to employment because of their race, color, religion, sex and national origin. Additional laws exist that prohibit discrimination because of a perceived or real disability, pregnancy, and age, among other things.
Since 2008, workers filed over 240,000 race discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency that oversees Title VII claims. Since Title VII prohibits race discrimination in all areas of employment, the claims include allegations of harassment by co-workers, failure to hire, refusal to promote, wrongful termination and more.
If you have experienced racial discrimination or harassment, consider speaking with a New York race discrimination attorney at Leeds Brown. Our firm has an outstanding reputation for representing victims of workplace race discrimination with passion, skill, and success. The team-based, hands-on way we approach cases means that Leeds Brown clients receive the personal and professional attention they deserve. Call us today and let us know how we can help you.
Title VII protects employees from discrimination based on race, color, race-related characteristics and conditions, and association with members of a race.
According to the EEOC, Title VII prohibits employment decisions based race along with “stereotypes and assumptions about abilities, traits or the performance of individuals of certain racial groups.” It also prohibits discrimination based on immutable characteristics of a particular race even though all members of the race do not share the same characteristics. Immutable characteristics include things like hair texture or facial features.
Title VII lists race and color as separate protected characteristics for a reason. More often than not they overlap. But, there are circumstances that arise when an employer discriminates and makes an employment decision based exclusively on the color of someone’s skin.
The EEOC, in its guidelines, states while race and color are similar, they are not synonymous. The agency says, “Color discrimination can occur between persons of different races or ethnicities, or between persons of the same race or ethnicity.”
This type of discrimination is sometimes referred to as “colorism” and occurs when someone is harassed, discriminated against or retaliated against because of the lightness, darkness or other characteristic associated with the shade of her or his skin.
For example, an employer has an opening to promote an individual. The employer has two candidates. One is an experienced dark skinned African American. The other is an inexperienced light skinned African American. If the employer promotes the inexperienced light skinned African American, it may be color discrimination because he favored the lighter skinned member over the darker skinned member of the same race.
Another example, a restaurant employs many African American workers. However, the light-skinned employees all work as waiters, waitresses, cashiers, and hosts. Despite being fully qualified for these “front of house” jobs, the dark-skinned employees are relegated to jobs in the kitchen, washing dishes or bussing tables. The restaurant manager or owner may be discriminating based on color.
Note that in both of these examples; the employer can be of the same or different race than the employees. It does not change the fact that the employer is unlawfully discriminating based on color.
New York race discrimination attorneys are familiar with the defenses employers tend to use in color discrimination cases. Employers sometimes take the position that “customer preference” dictates their decisions to separate employees based on color. This segregation may occur when employers assign people of one color to predominantly minority territories, establishments, or to particular groups of jobs. The theory is that if customers or clients would prefer to have people with particular characteristics serve them or partner with them, there is a legitimate business concern that supports a discriminatory employment decision.
For example, if the promotion mentioned above involves managing a group of Caucasians, the employer may argue that promoting the light skinned candidate was the appropriate business decision because the group would respond better to his leadership.
Similarly, if the restaurant mentioned above is in a neighborhood with a large light skinned African American population, the manager may claim that customers are more comfortable being served by light skinned wait staff.
This reasoning is not widely accepted. An employer may not make discriminatory employment decisions based on actual or perceived public prejudice. Logic dictates that an employer may not act in a biased way because customers prefer it.
If you have experienced color discrimination, there are administrative and time requirements that you must fulfill to protect your rights. There is a period during which you must file a color discrimination complaint with the EEOC before you are permitted to file a lawsuit. There is no way to determine how much time you have left until we hear the facts of your case.
It is also important to discuss your case with an experienced attorney who can help understand whether your claim involves color discrimination, race discrimination or both. Ensure that you protect your rights to pursue justice by filing a complete, accurate and timely complaint. New York race discrimination lawyers at Leeds Brown can help.
New York race discrimination lawyers at Leeds Brown have someone in the office to take your call twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. Our lawyers devote all of their time to ensuring employers are accountable for discriminations and that employees obtain successful outcomes in their cases. Whether you seek reinstatement, promotion, a job or monetary compensation, Leeds Brown can guide you through the process of recovery after discrimination negatively impacts you and your family.
Call today and enforce your right to receive equal treatment under the law. Call New York race discrimination lawyers at Leeds Brown – 1-800-585-4658 – for a free review of your case.