Best Ohio Race Discrimination Attorney Answer: What laws protect employees against race discrimination? What kind of lawyer do I need to sue my employer for race discrimination? Do I have a claim for racial discrimination against a company for not hiring me?
As our employment discrimination lawyers have blogged about before, lawsuits based on discriminatory hiring practices are always a bit tougher to navigate than wrongful termination cases simply because the employer usually can come up with an array of excuses for why it did not hire you. (See Employment Discrimination: Refusal to Hire; Can My Employer Use “Objective” Testing To Screen Out Black Applicants? Best Lawyer Answer!; Top Discrimination Lawyer Response: Can A Job Refuse To Hire Me Because I Have A Criminal Background?; Can An Employer Refuse To Hire Me Because I’m Transgendered? I Need A Lawyer!
Part of the problem is that there is no universal set of qualifications or requirements for getting hired for a job. One employer may think that test scores are the most important, another may rely most on an essay or writing sample, another may say your past experience or resume, and another may look most at interpersonal skills, personality or any other factor that could possibly come to mind. So how does one actually prove that he or she was not hired solely due to their race? Well, it certainly helps if the employer is alleged to have a pattern or practice of discriminating against certain racial minorities. And according to one federal court in Illinois, such a suit can be brought and maintained even if you do not know the identities of the possible victims of alleged race discrimination.
In a recent race discrimination case, Rosebud Restaurants, Inc. was sued in United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The lawsuit alleged that Rosebud (as a chain of restaurants) violated Title VII by refusing to hire African-Americans due to their race.
All employees and applicants are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and R.C. § 4112.02(A) from being discriminated against or retaliated against by their employers on the basis of race. Specifically, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits race discrimination in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment, on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Similarly, Ohio Revised Code § 4112.02 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or ancestry.
In Ohio, the Ohio Fair Employment Practice Act, R.C. § 4112.01 et seq., prohibits employment practices that discriminate or retaliate on the basis of race. This law also prohibits an employer from retaliating against any person because that person has opposed an unlawful discriminatory practice, made a complaint, testified, or assisted in any investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this law.
The interesting thing about this case was that it was brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), which did not know the names of any actual applicants that had been discriminated against. Given this strange fact, the defendant employers filed a motion arguing that the complaint should be dismissed because it failed to identify the “victims” of the alleged hiring discrimination. On April 7, 2015, Judge Andrea Wood, denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss allowing the suit to proceed forward.
In her opinion, Judge Wood expressed the following:
Defendants here contend that a complaint under § 706 must name a specific individual aggrieved by the alleged discrimination and that the EEOC’s complaint in this case is insufficient because it fails to identify such a person. … This argument is not supported by the language of Title VII, however. Section 706’s authorization of EEOC actions contains no provision limiting such actions to matters brought on behalf of individuals. Instead, the EEOC is authorized under § 706 to prevent “any person from engaging in any unlawful employment practice” prohibited by Title VII. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(a). It is undisputed that the failure to hire an individual because of his race is a practice made unlawful by § 703(a)(1) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). When performed on a regular, purposeful, and widespread basis, such actions remain a subset of the discrimination prohibited by Title VII. Puffer v. Allstate Ins. Co., 675 F.3d 709, 716 (7th Cir. 2012). Because widespread discriminatory actions are within the category of discrimination prohibited by Title VII, they are also within the authority granted to the EEOC by § 706. See Serrano v. Cintas Corp., 699 F.3d 884, 896 (6th Cir. 2012).
The Supreme Court has confirmed that the EEOC has the authority to bring actions under § 706 in its own name. Gen. Tel. of the Nw., Inc. v. EEOC, 446 U.S. 318, 324-25 (1980). In such actions, the EEOC “is not merely a proxy for the victims of discrimination,” but is acting “to vindicate the public interest in preventing employment discrimination.” Id. at 326; see also EEOC v. Waffle House, Inc., 534 U.S. 279, 297-98 (2002). The conclusion that the EEOC may pursue widespread discrimination through an action under § 706 combined with the conclusion that it may pursue § 706 actions in its own name dictates the further conclusion that the EEOC may use that section to bring a civil action “in its own name to challenge a practice or policy that represents ongoing discrimination.” EEOC v. Harvey L. Walner & Assoc., 91 F.3d 963, 968 (7th Cir. 1996). These conclusions weigh in opposition to Defendants’ argument that the EEOC must name an aggrieved individual to state a sufficient claim for relief in the present case. …
Thus, the Court concludes that the EEOC may bring its current claims against Defendants under the authorization provided by § 706 and that its allegations of intentional discrimination are sufficient to state a claim for Title VII relief in the even in the absence of the identification of an individual job applicant who was rejected because of his race.
Essentially, the opinion supports the conclusion that a plaintiff, or the EEOC on its own behalf, does not have to first learn the names of the other possible aggrieved applicants who may not have been hired based on their race. In most cases, this information is not readily available to an individual or the EEOC when initiating a lawsuit; rather, the employer would be in sole possession of the names and information regarding the pool of applicants who applied for the same job position. It would give employers an unfair advantage to be able to withhold that information prior to discovery and escape a lawsuit based solely on the argument that the plaintiff could not identify all those potentially impacted or discriminated against by the employer during the hiring process.
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 a race discrimination lawyer from The Spitz Law Firm who will help you determine the best way to pursue your legal claims.
The materials available at the top of this race discrimination page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking: “What should I do …”, “I’m being discriminated against …”, “my boss is discriminating against me because …” or “How do I …”, 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, attorney Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.