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Los Angeles Law Blog

By stephen of Kristensen, LLP posted in Discrimination on Monday, September 14, 2020.
What constitutes racial discrimination in the workplace?


Though illegal, it’s impossible to deny that racial discrimination in the workplace is still prevalent today. Unfortunately, there are many instances where one may experience racial discrimination in the workplace. Understanding what can be constituted as racial discrimination is also understanding your rights – which is the first step to protecting them, and shining a light on illegal activities fueling racial inequality to fight for a positive future.


Employment process

Sadly, discrimination can begin early with the hiring process. You have applied for a job in which you have outstanding qualifications and qualities, yet, you aren’t hired. Sometimes, this may be because of a more competitive candidate, but don’t be afraid to dig deeper and ask questions. Do the company’s clients have a reputation of only working with a certain race of people? Take a look at the company’s staff page on their website, do all of their employees look the same? These are things to look for when you think you have been a victim of race discrimination. The same goes when applying for promotions, such as cases where you are continually overlooked regardless of your qualifications, and you notice only your white co-workers are getting the promotions. If any of this has happened to you, you may just have a case for yourself.



If you find your co-workers making racially charged jokes or comments, whether it is directed to you or in a social situation, this can very well be considered harassment. If these type of jokes make you uncomfortable, and, in turn, lead to the workplace becoming a negative environment for you, this could possibly be considered racial discrimination.


Unintentional discrimination

This type of discrimination isn’t solely based on the color of your skin, but the stereotypes that are associated with your race. For example, if you are not hired, regardless of your qualifications, and were given the reason “you won’t fit in here”. This could be the employer not hiring you based on the stereotypes about your race that they believe to be true. If any of their language caused you to suspect there may be an element of discrimination, it could be because of illegal prejudices that you can take action against – regardless of intention or ignorance, it’s illegal – and wrong.


Spouse is of a different race

Racial discrimination in the workplace doesn’t always happen because you are of a different race, but sometimes it can be because your spouse is. Legally, it’s still racial discrimination if you are being treated unfairly because you are married to someone who is of another race. This may be harder to identify, but could be the cause of some workplace harassment. If you notice your co-workers joking about your spouse or making racial comments toward you in regards to your spouse, this could be considered racial discrimination in the workplace.


The reality is employers are under a legal obligation to keep the workplace environment free of racial discrimination. If they do not do this, they’ve violated your rights and fallen short of their legal responsibilities. Our firm is here to represent those who have suffered as the result of their negligence, and bring justice to those who have been discriminated against on the basis of race. If you have been impacted, please call us so we can seek justice on your behalf.