Racial discrimination occurs when someone is treated unfavorably due to their race or characteristics of a race (for example, facial features, skin color or hair texture). It may also involve someone being treated unfairly because they are married to someone of a certain skin color or race.
Racial discrimination is illegal. This includes basing hiring or firing decisions, promotions, job assignments, fringe benefits and other employment terms on a person’s color or race. Learn more about the potential signs of racial discrimination in the workplace here.
Signs of racial discrimination
Sometimes, racial discrimination goes on undetected. Unless an employer admits to why they decided to hire or fire someone, it’s hard to prove. However, there are some situations where employers may show discriminatory intent.
One example is during an interview. Potential employers can’t ask questions regarding an applicant’s race. It can prove racial discrimination if they do and fail to hire this person.
Usually, cases of racial discrimination are more subtle. Most people don’t know why they aren’t hired for a position. While they can ask, the employer may give any reason for this, including those that aren’t based on race or provide no reason for this. In some situations, you may be able to use hiring trends for a business as proof of racial discrimination.
Another situation where you may have proof of discrimination is if someone is promoted or hired over an applicant or employee of another race with more qualifications.
Some employers are discriminating without realizing it. In these cases, you have the right to bring attention to this.
Protecting yourself and others from racial discrimination
If you suspect discrimination, be sure to collect evidence and report the situation to HR. Having documentation of these things will help if you decide to move forward with legal proceedings.