Racial Bias in the Workplace

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What Is Racial Bias?

Racial bias is something that many people still come across in their daily lives. One of the worst kinds of racial bias comes in the form of employment discrimination. Federal and state laws, however, protect employees from racial bias in the workplace.

What Laws Protect Me from Racial Bias?

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits any racial bias in the workplace. Employers are not allowed to discriminate when recruiting, hiring, or promoting employees. Additionally, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans any racial harassment or creating a hostile work environment. The Civil Rights Act is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

In addition to the federal Civil Rights Act, many states have passed anti-discrimination laws. State laws vary, and each state has its own enforcement procedures. Information on these racial bias and employment laws can usually be found online.

How Many Claims Does the EEOC Receive?

In 2012, the EEOC received over 30,000 raced-based claims. That same year, the EEOC recovered over $100 million in monetary benefits through mediation and settlement. This does not include monetary benefits from lawsuits filed either by the EEOC or by the employee against the employer.

How Can I File a Claim for Racial Bias?

Before you can sue your employer, you must file a claim with the EEOC. To begin this process, you must file a Charge of Discrimination with an EEOC field office.  You must also file your claim within 180 or 300 days of the alleged discrimination, depending on your state’s laws on discrimination. The next step involves an investigation, after which the EEOC will either issue a Notice of Right to Sue, or will attempt to settle with your employer.

You should additionally check with your state regarding its discrimination claims process. States with anti-discrimination agencies will also file your claim with the EEOC. For an example, review the article on filing a discrimination claim in California.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Racial Bias Claim?

You do not need an attorney to initially file a claim for racial bias with a state agency or the EEOC. However, if your claim progresses to mediation or litigation, you may want to consult an attorney. Mediation does not require an attorney, but can be an unfamiliar process for many individuals. If you are facing litigation for a racial bias claim, you should consult an employment lawyer.

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Last Modified: 01-10-2014 10:55 AM PST

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