It seems obvious that treating someone unfavorably because that person is a member of a particular race or because that person has a certain skin color complexion is discriminatory, and therefore, illegal. But what about employment policies or practices that apply to persons of all races and colors? According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency tasked with enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of race or color, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on the employment of people of a particular race or color and is not job-related and necessary to the operation of the business.”
For instance, an employer’s “no-beard” policy may be illegal even though it applies uniformly to all employees regardless of race or color if it has a disproportionately negative impact on African American men (many of whom have a predisposition to pseudofolliculitis barbae, or severe shaving bumps). An employer may defeat a claim of race discrimination based on disparate impact only by demonstrating that the policy is job-related and is consistent with business necessity. Similarly, an employment policy that excludes persons with sickle cell anemia may be illegal because sickle cell anemia occurs predominantly in African Americans, unless the employer can demonstrate that the policy is job-related and is consistent with business necessity.
In a recent example, a lawsuit was filed in January of 2013 against two employers because of their use of criminal background checks. In its lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that BMW Manufacturing Company, L.L.C. and Dollar General’s use of criminal background checks as part of their hiring and retention processes has had a disproportionate impact on African Americans. The EEOC further averred that these background checks have had the effect of screening out otherwise well-qualified African Americans from jobs. The lawsuit alleged
that the employers’ policies of using criminal background checks are neither job-related nor consistent with business necessity.
Our employment discrimination lawyers will keep an eye on this one and keep you posted.
If you feel that you are being discriminated based on your race, whatever race that may be, then call the right attorney. Race discrimination includes being harassed, fired, wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, demoted, wrongfully disciplined, and denied wages. When you call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at (216) 291-4744, you will meet with an attorney from The Spitz Law Firm who will help you determine the best way to pursue your legal claims.
The materials available at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Your best option is to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to race discrimination questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm or any individual attorney.