Though illegal, racial bias, also known as racial discrimination, is still prevalent in the United States, and the workforce nationwide. Legally, it is against the law to discriminate against a person because of their race.

Whether it is an employer who refuses to hire someone because of their race or if a group of individuals are not being promoted within their company because of race, it is illegal.

What Laws Protect Me from Racial Bias?

Fortunately, there are laws that protect all employees from racial bias. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits all forms of discrimination in the workplace, including racial discrimination. This means that employers cannot discriminate against anyone in the recruiting, hiring, or promoting of employees.

Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency that is in place to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employees who have been wrongly treated may contact the EEOC, file a complaint, and proceed with their outlined process of resolving a claim of discrimination.

Individual states also prohibit racial bias with their own anti-discrimination laws. States vary in their enforcement procedures, and an employment attorney can answer any questions you may have about your own jurisdiction.

What Can I Do If I Have Suffered Racial Discrimination?

If you have been the victim of racial discrimination by your employer, there are a few steps you can take to begin to remedy the situation. It is advised that you consult an employment attorney to ensure your rights are protected.

First, you should file a discrimination claim with the EEOC. If you intend to file a civil lawsuit, you must first file a claim with the EEOC. The EEOC will review your claim, and provide further instruction for your next steps.

If you decide to move forward with your claim, the EEOC may sanction your employer in order to prevent further discrimination, and may attempt to mediate a solution between you and your employer. Once the EEOC’s investigation concludes, they will provide you with a Notice of Right to Sue, and you may then file a civil lawsuit.

When Can I File a Racial Discrimination Suit Against My Employer?

As mentioned, only after you file a claim with the EEOC may you file a civil lawsuit against your employer. Once you receive a Notice of Right to Sue, you must file your lawsuit within 90 days of receipt of the Notice.

How Many Claims Does the EEOC Receive?

In 2017, the EEOC received nearly 29,000 charges related to racial discrimination. Race discrimination accounted for 33.9% of all discrimination charges. In total, the EEOC processed 84,254 discrimination charges in 2017.

How Can I File a Claim for Racial Bias?

First, you must contact an EEOC office in your jurisdiction. You will have to file a claim with the EEOC before moving forward with a lawsuit. The EEOC will investigate, and will also attempt to remedy the situation. After the investigation is closed, you will be issued a Notice of Right to Sue. Contact an employment attorney to assist you in moving forward with the legal process.

How Much Can I Recover in a Racial Bias Lawsuit?

The amount you can recover in a racial bias lawsuit depends on a few factors. There are compensatory and punitive damage caps on how much an employer can pay out, depending on how many employees are employed at the establishment.

If an employee was discriminated against because of race, and there was another issue involved, then this would be a “mixed motive” case. Monetary caps exist in these situations with relation to the amount of damages that may be recovered.

For instance, if an individual was fired in part for her race, but also because of something that was irrelevant to racial discrimination, this mixed motive termination will likely have a limit on damages.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Racial Bias Claim?

If you have been discriminated against because of your race, then you should notify HR at your workplace and file a claim with the EEOC. If the EEOC or your HR department at your work refuses or are unable to resolve the issue, then your next step should be to  contact a local employment attorney.

Your lawyer will advise you of your rights and provide guidance on how to move forward with your case. Additionally, an attorney will be able to represent your best interests in court, should you decide to file a lawsuit.