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Employment Law: Workplace Racial Discrimination October 3, 2011 Employment Law: Workplace Racial Discrimination A number of federal and state laws prohibit racial discrimination. Racial discrimination is the practice of letting a person’s race or skin color unfairly become a factor when deciding who receives a job, promotion, or other employment benefit.
It most often affects minority individuals who feel they have been unfairly discriminated against in favor of a Caucasian (or white) individual, but there have been recent cases where whites have claimed that reverse discrimination has occurred—that is, the minority received unfairly favorable treatment at the expense of the white individual. Racial discrimination in the workplace has been a challenging issue for the United States since awareness rose in the 1960s.
Blacks and other minority workers have faced intimidation, harassment and subtler forms of racism such as the difficulty of landing a job or promotion, even when they have the requisite qualifications.
The United States has been actively combating racial discrimination in the workplace for 46 years, yet challenges remain. Many people do not really know much information on how racial discrimination at workplaces may take place, but many concerns can be answered with these following questions: 1. How long has racial discrimination at workplaces been going on for? 2.
What are the laws on racial discrimination about? 3.
What are some reasons for racial discrimination? 4. What is required to prove a racial discrimination case? This review on Employment Law focuses on these four questions. How long has racial discrimination at workplaces been going on for? Workplace racial discrimination is not something that has just recently started. The truth is, racial discrimination in the workplace has been taken place since the 1960s. In the aftermath of the Civil War, the United States abolished slavery and gave blacks the legal right to join the workforce.
However, blacks had little protection from discrimination in employment, education, voting and other realms. Black workers felt they did not receive fair consideration for job openings, or for promotions after joining a business. Instances of outright segregation in the workplace were a means of isolating minorities from fellow workers or customers, as well as from co-workers who intimidated them. What are the laws on racial discrimination about? The main law and act dealing with racial discrimination at the workplace is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Civil Rights Act of 1991 created changes and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was created as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects individuals against employment discrimination based on race and color as well as national origin, sex, or religion. It is unlawful to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of his/her race or color in regards to hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment.
Title VII also prohibits employment decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions about abilities, traits, or the performance of individuals of certain racial groups. Title VII prohibits both intentional discrimination and neutral job policies that disproportionately exclude minorities and that are not job related. Equal employment opportunity cannot be denied because of marriage to or association with an individual of a different race; membership in or association with ethnic based organizations or groups; or attendance or participation in schools or places of worship generally associated with certain minority groups. “Facts about Race/Color Discrimination”, middle sec. ) Basically, Title VII prohibits any decisions made by an employer if the decision is based on any one of these, because most of these traits are things that employees cannot control. For example, an article titled “Bias Suit against Del Taco Broadens”; talks about black employees who feel their employer are discriminating against blacks who are qualified for a job, instead the employer hires Latinos. Rochelle Manuel, a former cashier who is African American, witnessed a Latina supervisor at a Cypress Del Taco refuse to give job applications to blacks or take completed ones from them. The black applicants were told the restaurant was not hiring, while the Latina manager routinely gave applications and even jobs to Latinos”. (Ballon, 2002, 5th para. ) The suit is still going on, so there is no verdict at this time. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1991, employees who won a case after suing their employer for racial discrimination received punitive monetary damages instead of just monetary damages.
The difference between the two are that with punitive monetary damages employees get pain and emotional suffering, future lost benefits and wages, and more, while with monetary damages employees just get lost benefits and wages, attorney fees and any other legal costs for the suit filed. In reality, the employee gets more money. To oversee the federal civil rights legislation, a separate administrative body was created as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, was created to enforce laws that prevent discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion, national origin, disability, or age when hiring, firing, or promoting employees. Four groups—race, color, sex, and creed—were given “protected status” under the law, which was to be upheld by the EEOC. The commission is an independent regulatory body that has the power to launch investigations, file lawsuits, and create programs to eliminate discrimination. The EEOC has been a controversial organization throughout its nearly 40-year history.
Liberal politicians believe that the agency was long overdue and that it is absolutely imperative that the agency be proactive in identifying and fighting discrimination in the courts, while conservatives believe that the organization is a perfect example of “big government” that intrudes far too deeply into citizens’ lives. The agency’s strong enforcement of affirmative action policies (which actively seek to promote minorities over equally qualified nonminorities in order to address past discrimination) has been its most controversial action, as many Americans oppose affirmative action.
Even with political opposition, the EEOC continues to be effective in fighting racial discrimination. The EEOC establish E-RACE (Eradicating Racism and Colorism from Employment. E-RACE was initiated to improve EEOC’s efforts to make sure workplaces were free of color and race discrimination. What are some reasons for racial discrimination? There are really not any real reasons for racial discrimination. At least, there are not any that would make the situation considered as legit.
Some employers may racial discriminate against their employees for the simple fact that do not really care for the employee race or what race the employee associate with, or may not want the employee to work for them because the employer do not like the color of the employee skin, which is illegal under Title VII. “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against individuals because of their race”. (“Race Discrimination in the Workplace”, Browne, 2nd para. As stated earlier, racial discrimination is the practice of letting a person’s race or skin color unfairly become a factor when deciding who receives a job, promotion, or other employment benefit. Although most racial discrimination cases are based on minority, this is not necessarily always the case. For example, there is reverse discrimination where whites will sue for racial discrimination instead of the minority. What is required to prove a racial discrimination case? A case on racial discrimination cannot just be established by a person saying that they have been mistreated on the job. Evidence is required.
Under Title VII for a case to be established against an employer the employee must show that (1) he or she is in a protected class, (2) the employee applied for a position which he or she was qualified for, even though he or she was qualified for the position, the employee did not get the position, (3) the position is still open after the employee did not get hired , and finally (4) the employer still try to find someone to hire when the employer just rejected the qualified employee. In the employer defense of the case, the employer must show that the action he or she took against the employee was for a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason.
For example, an article titled Seventh Circuit Holds No “Token” Exception in Title VII Discrimination Cases, talks about five Hispanic employees at Kraft Foods Global, Inc. feel their non-Hispanic supervisor, Peter Michalec was discriminating against them. The five employees said Michalec had them cleaning the parking lot and sewage during the winter, but non-Hispanic employees did not have to do those things. He also made racial slurs and comments to them. Two of the five employees signed up for an open position within Kraft and later found their names scratched off the sheet and they were not considered for the position.
The five employees try to apply for positions within Kraft, but they cannot get the position and are not even considered for the position because of Michalec. One of those five employees ends up getting a sanitation position, but she was assigned to night shift. Night shift was normally given to a male. Therefore, the employee asked Michalec why she had to be on night shift and he said, “He placed another new-hire into the day shift position because he was white like me and because he had a family to take care of”. (Abrahams, McFetridge, 2011, 3rd para. The five employees sued Kraft for discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Only one won because she had evidence, which she settled out of court while three, tried the case again. After this evidence is shown the employee must demonstrate that the other employees receiving the higher wages perform substantially equal work on jobs requiring equal skill, effort fort, and responsibility. Finally, it must be shown the jobs that are being worked are performed under all of the same working conditions.
Like this act, any other laws and acts require that there is evidence given to prove that discrimination is actually taken place. Any type of discrimination on the workplace should not be accepted. It is good to have all the laws and acts that prohibit discrimination. Any employer who in an hire up position such as a manager or supervisor should be setting examples to their employees, and shouldn’t engage in discrimination towards anyone that’s working for them. Working in a place with these kinds of things going on could affect the atmosphere at the workplace. Discrimination simply should not have to take place. References
Equal Pay and Compensation Discrimination. (n. d. ). US EEOC Home Page. Retrieved September 6, 2011, from http://www. eeoc. gov/laws/types/equalcompensation. cfm Hinckley, M. (n. d. ). History of Workplace Discrimination | eHow. com. eHow | How to Videos, Articles & More – Trusted Advice for the Curious Life | eHow. com. Retrieved September 6, 2011, from http://www. ehow. com/about_6637038_history-workplace-discrimination. html Laws Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace. (n. d. ). HRhero. com: Employment Law Resources for HR Managers. Retrieved September 6, 2011, from http://www. hrhero. com/topics/discrimination. html