Racial Discrimination: What to Look For

Over the past few decades, the world has dramatically improved in terms of racism. However, there’s still a long way to go. People experience racial discrimination daily in their workplaces and communities. With modern attitudes weighted against racism, this behavior has become subtler and hard to spot.

Still, there are several signs that indicate you’re suffering from racism in your daily life. Here’s what you need to know about racial discrimination and what it looks like in the workplace.

Definition of Racial Discrimination

Racial discrimination is defined as “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition […] of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” Basically, any action that harms someone because of their race or ethnicity is considered discrimination.

Racial discrimination is prohibited under both federal and California laws. The laws covering racist decisions are especially strict in workplaces to protect marginalized people from losing access to work. California specifically bars employers from treating workers differently in terms of their assignments or pay because of their race.

What Does Racial Discrimination Look Like?

Racism looks like more than just active hatred. Even otherwise-accepting people often have unconscious biases regarding race. These biases can add up to hostile workplaces and discriminatory actions unless a business is extremely careful. Examples of this subtle, unconscious behavior include:

  • People of color (POC) being overlooked for promotions in favor of white peers.
  • POC receiving overly critical supervision compared to white peers.
  • POC receiving stereotyped duties, such as people of Asian descent being placed in customer service roles or people of African descent being directed to manual labor.
  • POC being excluded from company events because other staff don’t feel “comfortable” including them.
  • Singling out POC to represent the company only in front of other POC.

Individual instances of this kind of racist behavior can be hard to identify. However, when bias is present, patterns emerge quickly.

If you believe you may be suffering from racial discrimination in your workplace, start monitoring patterns. Pay attention to trends in promotions, bonuses, assigned duties, and other company activities. Write down when you notice instances of possible bias with dates and times.

If you see a pattern forming, you should talk to your Human Resources department. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always lead to change. In that case, you should reach out to an experienced employment law attorney. The patterns you’ve recorded will be valuable evidence should you take legal action against your employer.

Stop Accepting Discrimination in Your Workplace

California law is on your side when it comes to racism in the workplace. You don’t have to sit by while your employer promotes less qualified people or assigns you undesirable duties because of your race. Instead, you can stand up for yourself and fight back against racist treatment.

The experienced lawyers at AM+F LLP can help. Get in touch today to discuss your situation and learn your options for fighting for your rights in the workplace.