Prohibitions Against Race and Nationality Discrimination
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The United States Constitution and Title VII prohibit employers from discriminating against employees or applicants on the basis of race or nationality. The federal government and states have created agencies that enforce these laws.
Employer's Intent Must Be Proved for a Race or Nationality Discrimination Claim
Race or nationality discrimination may have occurred if your employer has treated you differently than other employees who do the same work as you because of your race or national origin. To prove discrimination, an employee must show that the employer's intent was to discriminate on the basis of race or national origin. This intent can be proved if employer has treated other persons of a different race or nationality differently.
Examples of When Race or Nationality Discrimination Can Occur in the Workplace
- Hiring, forced retirement, firing
- Job advertisements and recruitment
- Compensation and pay
- Health/Medical and fringe benefits
- Waivers of the right to sue in exchange for severance pay
What Else do Race or Nationality Discrimination Laws Prohibit?
- Harassment - by your employer or coworkers because of your race or national origin
- Retaliation - against you for reporting discrimination, filing a lawsuit due to the discrimination or participating in an investigation
- Employment advertisements - excluding persons of a certain race or national origin or showing a preference for a particular race or nationality
- Promotions - offered or given only to persons with a certain preferred race or nationality
Federal Race or Nationality Discrimination Laws and Agencies - EEOC
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the Federal anti-discrimination laws. They investigate claims of discrimination in employment. Generally, in order to file a lawsuit in federal court, an employee must first file a claim with the EEOC. The deadline for filing a claim with the EEOC is 180 days after the discriminatory act. Claims go to overworked EEOC investigators to investigate. Due to their heavy caseloads, the EEOC investigators do not respond to claims immediately.
State Race or Nationality Discrimination Laws and Agencies
Many states also have their own laws regulating race or nationality discrimination in employment and agencies to enforce these laws. State deadlines for filing claims vary.
Do I Need an Attorney Experienced in Race or Nationality Discrimination Cases?
Pursuing a race or nationality discrimination claim against an employer is complicated because procedural laws vary depending on where and when you file your claim. A lawyer will help you with the filing deadlines specific to your claim. Also, because the EEOC investigators will not get to your claim immediately, a lawyer can help you investigate and pursue any additional remedies. It is also a good idea to see a lawyer before signing a waiver or other severance package. If you are an employer being sued for race or nationality discrimination, you should speak to a lawyer immediately.
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Last Modified: 06-07-2012 03:56 PM PDT
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