How Do I Prove Racial Discrimination at Work?

Whether blatant or unintentional, discrimination based on race should not be tolerated in any work environment. The negative effects of workplace racial discrimination can be far-reaching and cause harm to both the professional and personal lives of employees.

These issues can arise as outright racism in the workplace or indirect prejudice against minorities, but regardless of the severity, dealing with every instance of workplace discrimination is essential to combating it as a whole.

Don’t let racial discrimination go unnoticed. Speak with one of The Galo Law Firm’s attorneys specializing in employment law today. Our legal team can provide you with the guidance necessary to understand both your rights and options in the face of racial discrimination.

Whether you want to air out your doubts, address your questions, or get started on assembling your case today, our lawyers The Galo Law Firm are ready to handle your claim.

Speak with an attorney specialized in employment law and workplace racial discrimination, call 210-361-8043.

What Is Racial Discrimination?

Racial discrimination in Texas and throughout the United States is defined as the unfair or unequal treatment of people based on their race, national origin, or ethnicity. This can occur in many ways such as denying a job applicant, giving preference and work benefits to certain employees, or subjecting a worker to a hostile work environment all due to their race.

Individuals with protected class status are often the victims of this conduct. Protected class status extends to individuals of a particular race, color, national origin, sex, gender, religion, age, disability, or pregnancy status.

What Protects Against Racism at Work?

To safeguard employees from racism and discrimination at work, the following agencies and laws have been put in place.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – Title VII forbids employers from treating both current employees and potential hires differently due to their race, color, national origin, sex, or religion. Companies with 15 or more employees are subject to this legislation.

Texas Constitution – The equal rights amendment in the Texas Constitution prohibits discrimination based on race, and ethnicity, along with all other ‘protected class status’ characteristics.

EEOC and TWC – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a nationally ran organization responsible for upholding Title VII and other anti-discrimination rules in workplaces. There is a state agency with similar responsibilities known as the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

At-will Employment – Texas is recognized as an “at-will” employment state, this means that employers can fire their employees for any lawful reason at any time.

Recognizing Racial Discrimination

To combat racial discrimination in the workplace, it´s first essential to know how to recognize it. Below are some common indicators of racial discrimination.

Disparate Treatment – Disparate or discriminatory treatment occurs when a worker is treated differently than similarly situated employees because of their race. For example, an employer may penalize or even fire a Latino employee when their white colleagues have done similar quality work or made similar mistakes without repercussions. Disparate treatment tends to be intentional discrimination.

Disparate Impact – When an employer’s policies or practices have a disproportionately negative impact on people of a particular race. For instance, this can occur when a company requires testing for a job where a majority of the people who don’t pass are from one racial group. Disparate Impact is typically unintentional.

Harassment – Unwelcome behavior due to a person’s race may be seen as harassment. This can include using racial slurs, racist jokes, and derogatory terms or remarks in the workplace. As well as displaying symbols that are considered offensive to a certain race or ethnic group. Racial harassment may not always be clear-cut and can involve subtle behaviors, such as excluding employees of a certain race or segregating employees by race.

Retaliation – If an employer penalizes an employee for reporting discrimination or filing a discrimination complaint, this can be considered retaliation. An adverse employment decision from an employer, including demotion, termination, reduction in pay, or a substantial change in job duties, can be categorized as retaliation.

Stereotyping – Stereotyping can occur in the workplace in indirect and direct ways. An employer may assume an employee’s abilities based on race or imply behaviors or preferences of workers from a particular racial group. Stereotyping can come from both colleagues and higher-ups.

Workplace racial discrimination is not limited to these examples and it may not always be deliberate or easy to spot. But, when it comes to federal and state laws, discrimination is more than unfair, it can be found as unlawful conduct. Understanding what can be considered unlawful discrimination can help both employers and employees prevent it from happening, along with proving it when it does happen.

Gathering Evidence

Whether you are worried that you are being racially discriminated against at work or you are certain that you have been a victim of bias for some time, it’s time to start gathering evidence. The proof you can assemble may play a key role in the fight to prove race discrimination in your case, so don’t hesitate to start taking note of things early.

Document Everything – As soon as your suspicions arise, start documenting everything relevant to the discrimination. This can include the dates, times, and places where the discrimination took place as well as any conversations with witnesses or communications with HR about the matter. If you have received positive performance reviews, hold on to them, because they may come in handy if an employer or management claims you performed poorly.

Save emails, messages, and correspondence – Keep any messages that show signs of racial discrimination. These can be from co-workers, directly from an employer, or be a general workplace message.

Witness Statements – If someone witnessed the discrimination, it’s crucial to get their account of what happened. This can support and even prove your account of what occurred.

Review Company Policies – Company training should discuss all policies relevant to racial discrimination thoroughly. If an employee suspects discrimination, they should check the company’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies to be sure. This could help build a case in the instance an employer has violated their own rules.

Get legal aid – Facing racial discrimination is a huge burden on its own. By working with a professional who is knowledgeable in the legal realm of racial discrimination, you can get a better understanding of your rights and start building a case to defend yourself.

Don’t wait to take these steps if you feel you have been discriminated against. The more direct evidence you have, the better for your claim. Our lawyers understand how intimidating a legal process may be, but with an experienced legal advisor on your side, you seek justice and defend your rights.

How to Report Racial Discrimination

The process and regulations for reporting racial discrimination varies from state to state. In Texas, the process typically follows these steps:

Speak With Your Employers

If you feel you are being treated unfairly because of your race, you should first speak with your employer or the human resources department. Depending on your workplace, you may be able to do this verbally or in writing. In the best-case scenario, they will have a procedure for handling the matter so that you can be supported and protected from further discrimination. It is important that you accurately describe the incident and what you experienced when you inform your workplace of what has happened.

File a Complaint With an Agency

If nothing has been done to fix or address the issue after talking with your employer, it may be time to file a formal complaint.

The national agency that investigates workplace discrimination claims is the EEOC. The statute of limitations for filing with the EEOC is 180 days from the day the discrimination happened, with exceptions for cases with specific circumstances.

The Texas Workforce Commission is the state run agency responsible for maintaining compliance with Texas laws. The TWC’s Civil Rights department is in charge of investigating all discrimination claims. Similar to the EEOC, the TWC allows 180 days from the day the harassment transpired to file a complaint.

We’d like to stress the importance of making the deadlines for filing your claim, because if you miss those time limits, your case could be dismissed altogether.

Take Legal Action

If after speaking with your employer as well as filing a complaint with the correct agency, you still feel as though the issue hasn’t been addressed, the next step may be to take legal action. However, before diving into a lawsuit, we recommend you discuss your experience and case specifics with a lawyer experienced in Texas employment law.

Challenges of Reporting Racial Discrimination

Racial discrimination is a serious violation of both civil and employee rights. But, due to its subjective nature, victims often encounter difficulties in defending themselves. Common challenges include:

Retaliation – The most common threat of reporting racial discrimination is retaliation, meaning that your co-workers or employer may take adverse employment action against you for making your complaint. This can show up as harassment, demotion, and in the most drastic cases, wrongful termination. However, retaliation for exercising your employee rights is not only unfair, but can be found illegal and punishable in court if proven.

The Burden of Proof – Having evidence is a core component of any legal case. Unfortunately, in racial discrimination cases, that evidence can sometimes be more subjective in nature, making it more difficult to prove. Displays of prejudice in these cases can often be subtle only provable through circumstantial evidence and depending on your case the burden of proof can vary drastically.

Statutes of Limitations – As we’ve mentioned, statutes of limitations are firm deadlines for filing a claim, and if missed, can result in an entire case being dismissed. We strongly advise our clients to act quickly in the face of racial discrimination to both strengthen their case and ensure that it can be filed.

Emotional Burden – Victims of workplace racial discrimination not only face complicated legal processes but have to bear the emotional weight of experiencing unfair and harmful behavior. It’s important for victims of racial discrimination to know that they are not alone in their struggle, and there are regulations, agencies, and procedures established to protect and defend their rights.

Given these challenges, it can be hard to muster the courage to take on a race discrimination claim alone. However, The Galo Law Firm is here to remind you that you are not by yourself in this fight.

We know how challenging confronting workplace discrimination can be, but it is a necessary step to end the harmful cycle of inequality and racial injustice in American workplaces. No instance of prejudiced behavior or illegal discrimination should be swept under the rug. Remember that you have both civil and employee rights on your side and that you are entitled and encouraged to exercise them.

What Damage Can Be Claimed in a Racial Discrimination Suit?

If your case ends up heading to court and comes out successful for you, you may be entitled to compensation for financial damages, personal suffering, and, if you were fired from your job, potential reinstatement to your former position.

Compensation may include:

  • Economic damages – This includes compensation for all financial losses due to the discrimination, which extends to lost wages, lost benefits, bonuses, and any other financial losses.
  • Emotional suffering – The suffering, both emotional and psychological, endured as a result of the discrimination may be compensated.
  • Punitive damages – In the case your employer retaliated against you, directly violated regulations, or broke the law, you may have the right to punitive damages. These damages are a means of punishing harmful workplace conduct as well as keeping it from happening in the first place.
  • Attorneys Fees and Costs – If your case wins in court, the other party may have to pay your attorney’s fees along with any additional costs connected with the lawsuit.

Speak With a Racial Discrimination Lawyer Today

If you feel you have been subject to racial discrimination in your Texas workplace, don’t delay discussing your case with our legal team at The Galo Law Firm. Our lawyers can advise you on what steps to take in the face of discrimination along with supplying any needed legal support throughout your fight for justice.

Our law firm is committed to helping every client understand their legal rights and options in order to build the strongest cases with the highest probability for a win. With legal support on your side, you may be able to hold the offender accountable for their behavior, and even see changes in your workplace environment and discrimination policies.

Work should be a space free from all forms of racial bias and discrimination, and when it’s not, it’s time to take action.

Defend your rights and speak with a discrimination attorney at The Galo Law Firm today! Call 210-361-8043.

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