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Laws Against Racial Discrimination in the Workplace: An In-depth Guide

Founding Member of Moshes Law, P.C.
During his years of practice, Yuriy has concentrated in litigation and real estate transactions as his areas of expertise.

In our society today, racial discrimination in the workplace is a significant concern that countless individuals face. Various federal and state laws, specifically laws against racial discrimination in the workplace, aim to combat these injustices and maintain an environment of fairness and equality. This article offers a comprehensive overview of these vital legal provisions, their significance, and the legal recourse available for victims. 

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Defining Racial Discrimination in the Workplace: Types and Examples

Racial discrimination in the workplace occurs when an individual is unjustly treated based on their race, color, or national origin. This discrimination can take on various forms, such as biases in hiring, firing, promotions, pay, and the provision of benefits. It also includes situations where employees are subjected to a hostile work environment due to their race.

US Laws Against Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

In the United States, the most prominent laws against racial discrimination in the workplace are encapsulated in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Specifically, Title VII of this Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including federal, state, and local governments, employment agencies, labor organizations, and labor-management committees.

New York State Human Rights Law: Protection Against Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

In New York State, the New York State Human Rights Law provides comprehensive protection against racial discrimination. This law, an essential part of the state’s fight against discrimination due to race, applies to all employers in the state, irrespective of their size. It explicitly prohibits racial discrimination in all aspects of employment.

Legal Consequences of Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

The legal consequences of violating laws on discrimination due to race can be severe for employers. Under both Title VII and the New York State Human Rights Law, employers found guilty of racial discrimination can be liable for compensatory and punitive damages. This liability extends not only to corporations but also to individuals, including supervisors and managers who engage in, permit, or fail to address racial discrimination.

Taking Legal Action: The Path to Justice

Victims of racial discrimination can take legal action by filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at the federal level, or with the New York State Division of Human Rights at the state level. Both agencies investigate complaints of violations of laws against racial discrimination, and if they find reasonable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred, they may file a lawsuit on the complainant’s behalf.

To take legal action, complainants must present evidence of discrimination, such as documentation of discriminatory practices, testimonies from witnesses, and comparisons of treatment between employees of different races. The assistance of an experienced employment discrimination attorney can be invaluable in these proceedings.

If you believe you have been a victim of racial discrimination in the workplace and need guidance on how to proceed, the attorneys at Moshes Law can help. Serving all areas of New York State, our team of experienced attorneys specializes in cases involving the New York State Human Rights Law and other US laws against racial discrimination. To learn more about how we can assist you, visit our racial discrimination lawyer page.


Racial discrimination in the workplace is a grave issue, but robust protections are provided by both state and federal laws, especially laws against racial discrimination in the workplace. By understanding these laws and the legal recourse available, employees can confidently stand up against racial discrimination and seek justice.

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