The color of one’s skin or the texture of hair should not be a factor in the treatment of someone at work. Treating someone differently because of race is discrimination, and it is unlawful.
Unfortunately, race discrimination still occurs regularly in the workplace. Some examples of it are obvious, while others are more subtle.
The issue in the workplace
According to the U.S. News and World Report, a significant number of workers claim they receive unfair treatment due to their race. More than 33% of black employees report they have been victims of race discrimination, 26% of Asian workers complain of discrimination, and 21% of Latino or Hispanic workers report unfair treatment. White workers are also not immune, as 12% of them complain of workplace discrimination.
There is an estimation that, just in one year, companies lost $59 billion in productivity loss and $54 in missed days of work due to race discrimination.
Basics of race discrimination
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discusses various aspects of race discrimination. It occurs when there is:
- Discrimination against a particular race
- Discrimination against someone of the same race
- Harassment against someone because of their race or color of skin
The person discriminating or harassing may be a supervisor, client or co-worker. Discrimination in the workplace refers to all employment aspects, such as hiring, pay, promotions, firing, layoffs, job assignments, fringe benefits, training and any other condition of employment.
Race harassment includes offensive remarks about a person’s color, racial slurs and displaying symbols that are racially offensive. Isolated incidents and simple teasing do not necessarily constitute illegal behavior, as it must be frequent and result in a hostile work environment.