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An explanation of race discrimination

Race discrimination occurs when an applicant or a worker is treated differently because of their ethnic origin, race or color. Federal laws prohibit discrimination in the workplace in New York and every other state in the country. Employees could help protect themselves and co-workers from race discrimination by recognizing the different types and reporting occurrences.

Harassment is a common type of race discrimination in which a supervisor, co-worker or client makes the work environment uncomfortable for an employee by making insulting comments related to the employee's racial background. Another example of racial harassment is the display of anti-racial paraphernalia. Race discrimination also comes in the form of an applicant not being hired, as well as a worker being fired or passed over for a promotion, because of the individual's ethnic origin. This occurs, for instance, when a company does not hire an applicant of a certain race because it is concerned about offending its clients, despite the applicant being more than qualified for the position.

It is also considered race discrimination if a worker's responsibilities increase but their job classification remains stagnant, whereas the job classifications of colleagues of another race are adjusted to reflect the increase in their responsibilities. The last type of race discrimination is differences in pay between workers of the same job classification and performance levels. Another example of pay discrimination is an employee being moved to a neighborhood with better commission prospects despite having poor sales while a worker with high sales volumes is moved to a neighborhood with lower commission prospects because the worker is of a minority race.

Employees going through any of the above examples might be suffering race discrimination. These employees could report the discrimination to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If they are not satisfied with the outcome of the EEOC's investigations, they may talk to lawyers about suing their employers for violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Source: Workplace Fairness, "What is race discrimination?", January 02, 2015

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