No one should have to go through racial discrimination when they’re trying to do their job. Unfortunately, it is still common in workplaces today despite state and federal laws prohibiting it. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, racial discrimination occurs when a person is treated differently due to their race or features associated with race. More specifically, color discrimination occurs when someone is treated unfairly because of the color of their skin.
While many cases of racial discrimination are no longer blatant, they still do occur. For example, being asked not to wear your hair in a traditional hairstyle because it “looks messy” to the employer could be discriminatory if your hairstyle has nothing to do with the job you’re doing and is normal for your ethnicity. An example may be an afro or hair braids, which are both traditional hairstyles for African-Americans.
Having policies on the job that require standards that are hard for different ethnicities to meet can also be discriminatory. For instance, many African-American men who shave may deal with a skin condition that causes severe shaving bumps, pain and irritation. Workplaces requiring men to be clean-shaven may be accused of discrimination in those cases if they don’t make exceptions for those who would be negatively hurt by the policy.
Racism isn’t just black and white
Often, people believe that racism can only occur between people of different races or colors, but that is not true. Discrimination can occur between two people of the same race or color, such as a lighter-skinned employee discriminating against a darker-skinned employee of the same race.
Discrimination on the job
In the workplace, it is illegal to discriminate against someone due to their race during any part of the job process. This includes ring hiring, firing, promotion, training and other circumstances. Anyone in the workplace can be discriminatory. It does not have to be your boss. It could be a coworker, client, a customer or a supervisor.
Racial discrimination has no place in U.S. workplaces today. If you’re discriminated against, it is worth the time to look into your options for moving forward with a claim. Whether you face harassment, racist workplace policies or other race-related issues, there is help available.