New York is a big city where people from all around the world make a wonderful melting pot of cultures and diversity. You would think that respecting each other’s rights is the norm here, and that’s the truth in most cases, yet discrimination is still omnipresent. When discrimination is present in everyday life, you can expect it in the workplace as well.
From our experience as New York employment lawyers, we know that racial discrimination in the workplace is more present than many people assume. We see people who don’t get hired, people who lose their jobs, who don’t get promoted or get deprived of some other employment right due to their skin color or skin complexion.
In the meantime, we will present you with 10 examples of racial discrimination in the workplace. Have a look at them to get an idea if you have a case.
Racial discrimination in the workplace laws of New York defines racial discrimination in the workplace as any unfavorable treatment against an employee, contractor, or a job applicant, due to their skin color, color complexion, hair texture, facial features, or other race-related characteristics.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 US Code §1981, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law, in particular, explicitly prohibit such behavior. According to them, you are likely to be an employee racial discrimination victim if you have been faced with refusal for promotion for no apparent reason, if you have lost your job or deprived of a job due to your race, you have been racially harassed, or suffered from any other behavior motivated by racial intolerance in the workplace.
The statements leading to ethnical discrimination in the workplace and employee racial discrimination are very similar between each other. Here are the 10 most common of them:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) further explains the definition of discrimination against race in the workplace. It includes:
There are many ways to become a victim of racial discrimination at work. If you are sure or are in doubt that you may be a victim, do not hesitate to contact a NY racial discrimination employment attorney to help you clarify the situation and advise you on the next steps.
To understand better what racial discrimination in the workplace is, have a look at the following real-life racial discrimination in the workplace cases that have been decided by the courts.
Albertson’s were sued in a class action by Hispanic and female workers in a lawsuit that covered, at the time, 20,000 current and former workers for depriving them of the management positions in the company.
The suit was filed in 1992 in California courts and ended up with settlement one year later. In the meantime, the company took the necessary steps to remedy the situation. Nevertheless, Babbitt et al v. Albertson’s Inc. remained as one of the landmark cases in the US racial discrimination law showing that discrimination against race must not be tolerated in the workplace.
Harold H. Archuleta is of mixed Mexican and Native American heritage. American Airlines terminated his employment as a mechanic in January 2000, which according to him, happened due to his complaining about the safety violations by the company and due to his support of the Charles L. Walker racial discrimination claims one year earlier.
The company denied his claims and brought the case to a dismissal by the court. It is important to note that you need to demonstrate to the court that the termination of your employment is due to discrimination. All Mr. Archuleta claimed was that he had seen three nooses hanging in the company and they took no steps to prevent it from happening. One of the nooses had been carried by Mr. Walker on his way to the management premises to complain. According to the court, this is not enough to assume racial discrimination in this case.
O’Bannon v. Friedman’s is an example of racial discrimination in hiring practices in America. It is a class action of three African American workers and one white worker claiming that Friedman’s, a jewelry store, discriminated on racial basis against African American people. The lawsuit was filed in the federal district court in Maryland. According to the plaintiffs, the store deprived African Americans of the opportunity to climb the ladder in the company. They could not get more associate jobs, no managerial jobs, no high-level management roles, and moreover, they were paid less for the same work compared to their similarly qualified white colleagues.
The case was settled. The plaintiffs couldn’t get all the compensation they deserve because the company went into bankruptcy and eventually into dissolution, but the case created another example for racial discrimination in the workplace to serve as a guide for other employers and employees who face the same issue.
Elijah Turley is an African American worker who got compensated $25 million for the hostile work environment that he had to suffer, making for one of the more famous racism in the workplace examples. Mr.Turley found a stuffed monkey with a noose around its head hanging on his car, as well as a KKK graffiti on the walls of the plant.These are only two of the series of race-motivated incidents that he suffered from and led him to a physical and emotional wreck.
Gloria Hamilton is yet another African American worker who is a victim of nooses hanging in the workplace. The first one had been removed by her coworkers before she arrived at work, but she was the one to find the second one. She took a photo, took the noose down, and complained to the management.
This racial discrimination example ended up in court where Northwest Airlines, the company where she worked, claimed that she simply found a piece of rope and that it doesn’t mean it was intended to harass her. The court refused that argument and awarded her damages.
In one of the well-known cases of racial discrimination in hiring, a whopping number of 4,500 African American truck drivers took a class action against Walmart because the company allegedly had refused their application in disproportionate numbers between 2001 and 2008.Of course, Walmart refused the claims but wisely agreed to settle for $17.5 million.
In another racial discrimination case, Walmart lost a lawsuit due to firing African American workers in order to give the same jobs to local people in Avon, Colorado. They lost it because the store manager had said: “I don’t like some of the faces here. There are people in Eagle County who need jobs”.
Well, racial discrimination laws protect all US workers equally, no matter if they are local or not. Also, it doesn’t matter whether you face a huge corporation like Walmart or a small business in court. If you are right, you have chances to win it.
Marcel Espiritu is an American worker of Filipino descent. He had been a victim of hateful comments in the workplace in Northwest Airlines due to his accent and ethnicity. When he finally took the courage to complain to the EEOC, he found a noose in his locker.
The company denied wrongdoing, yet they agreed to settle “to avoid expensive lawsuits”.
General Electric has been sued for racial discrimination multiple times, making for some famous racism at work examples. In 2010, 60 African American workers sued because the manager supervisor called them “monkeys”, “lazy blacks,” and used the N-word. In addition, the supervisor refused African American workers bathroom breaks and fired workers solely because of their race.
In 2005, the company faced a lawsuit by their African American managers, who claimed that they had been paid less for the same amount of work compared to the similarly qualified colleagues of other races.
Both cases were concluded with settlements.
D. Brown was a worker in a pub who wore a St. Patrick’s hat as part of his work duties. His manager told him that he “looked like a pimp” and that he “should’ve had prostitutes hanging off his arm”. For the court, that was enough to award him monetary compensation due to racial harassment in the workplace.
Segregating employees because of their race in this racial discrimination at work example led to compensation of $15 million for seven warehouse workers. Six of them were African Americans, and one was white, but he had opposed the employer practices. The bosses and fellow coworkers called the African American colleagues “lazy, stupid Africans”.
If you don’t know how to deal with racial discrimination at work, the best thing you could do is call a New York racial discrimination lawyer. These racial discrimination in the workplace examples gave you an idea of what makes a case but examining your situation with someone who knows the ins and outs of the legal procedures is the wisest step forward.
Many employers don’t know how to handle racial discrimination in the workplace, while others cause it. No matter the situation you are in, the Law Office of Yuriy Moshes and their New York employment lawyers are at your service for advice. Call us today for a free initial consultation at 888-445-0234 or fill the form below to see how we can help you.