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Raymond Buxton, II, Commissioner

Race Discrimination in Employment

Race discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because he/she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with race (such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features).

Race discrimination also can involve treating someone unfavorably because the person is married to (or associated with) a person of a certain race or because of a person’s connection with a race-based organization or group, or an organization or group that is generally associated with people of a certain race.

Discrimination can occur when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are the same race.

Race Discrimination & Work Situations

The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

Race Discrimination & Harassment

It is unlawful to harass a person because of that person’s race.

Harassment can include, for example, racial slurs, offensive or derogatory remarks about a person's race, or the display of racially-offensive symbols. Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Race Discrimination & Employment Policies/Practices

An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of race, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on the employment of people of a particular race and is not job-related and necessary to the operation of the business. For example, a “no-beard” employment policy that applies to all workers without regard to race may still be unlawful if it is not job-related and has a negative impact on the employment of African-American men (who have a predisposition to a skin condition that causes severe shaving bumps).

 

Available Resources

SCHAC is providing access to the EEOC fact sheet to help employees and employers understand the complex issues surrounding race discrimination.