What Remedies Are Available for Workplace Racial Bias?

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Racial Bias in the Wordplace

Racial bias in the workplace is banned by the federal Civil Rights Act and by several states’ laws. Title VII is the employment title of the Act, and it covers discrimination in employment that is based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or protected activity. The act covers discrimination based on race or color against people of all races as well as people of more than one race. Despite the existence of this statute, many people experience racial discrimination in the course of their employment. If you are the victim of racial bias, what remedies are available to you?

The goal of the Civil Rights Act is to end racial bias while at the same time to put you in the same position that you would be in if the discrimination had never occurred. Therefore, the remedy available depends on the discriminatory action and the effects it had on you.

For example, if you were fired from your job because of racial bias, you may be re-hired with back pay. Alternatively, you may be awarded the pay and benefits you would have received had you kept the job. At the same time, the employer is required to change its practice so that future discrimination does not occur.

Damages for Racial Bias in the Workplace

The law identifies two main types of damages available to victims of racial bias:

  1. Compensatory damages, which include loss of earnings, attorney's fees.
  2. Punitive damages, if the employer acted with malice or with reckless disregard for the victim's rights.

If an employee has been terminated due to racial bias, then the employee may also be able to be reinstated through legal action.

How Much Can I Recover in a Lawsuit?

There are caps on the amount you may recover from the employer, depending on the number of employees who are working for the employer. The caps apply to the amount of punitive damages, as well as compensatory damages for any emotional harm suffered and future monetary losses.

In some cases, there may be "mixed motives," in which the victim was fired in part because of race and in part because of reasons that were irrelevant to discrimination that would have ended in the same decision. While the employer is still guilty of violating Title VII, the legal remedies available to the victim are limited.

Seeking Legal Help

If you have been the victim of racial bias, it would be wise to consult with a lawyer. An experienced employment attorney will be able to properly assess your claim, and give you an idea of the damages for which you are eligible.

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Last Modified: 04-22-2014 04:37 PM PDT

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