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Race Discrimination

Fighting Back Against Racial Discrimination At Work

Although we would like to believe otherwise, recent news makes it clear that racism and race discrimination is still a large problem in our society. If large company CEOs are now admitting to making racist comments and basing employment decisions on race, you can be sure that such conduct is still going on in a large number of smaller businesses, companies, and organizations by managers, supervisors, owners, and bosses. A top example of racial harassment, a Court of Appeals in Ayissi-Etoh v. Fannie Mae, et al. dealt with a situation where a Caucasian boss told an African-American to “get out of my office nigger.” The Appeals Court held that a hostile work environment can be created based upon the single use of the “N-word,” a racial epithet that the Court held was “deeply offensive,” and, that “no single act can more quickly alter the conditions of employment” than “the use of an unambiguously racial epithet such as ‘nigger’ by a supervisor.” Unfortunately, this type of brazen racism by racists bosses, managers, and supervisors is still commonplace.

Fortunately, the race discrimination attorneys at Spitz, The Employee's Law Firm, are here to represent employees who have been discriminated against on the basis of race and color, in violation of Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and under Ohio R.C. § 4112.02.

Upholding Protections For All Employees

Under these laws, an employee cannot be harassed by on race or denied equal employment opportunity because of that employee’s racial group or perceived racial group, race-linked characteristics (hair texture, color, facial features), or marriage to or association with someone of a particular race, ethnicity or color. Federal and Ohio race discrimination laws further prohibit employers from making decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions about abilities, traits or the performance of certain racial or ethnic groups. This includes decisions to hire, promote, demote, assign account or jobs, and especially fire. These laws apply regardless of whether the discrimination is directed at African-Americans, Caucasians, Asians, Latinos, Arabs, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, multi-racial individuals, or persons of any other race, ethnicity or color.

There are generally two basic types of race, ethnicity and color discrimination claims: (1) disparate-treatment discrimination is when race is a motivating factor in how an employer treats individual employees; and (2) disparate-impact discrimination is when an employer’s purported neutral policy or practice has a significant negative impact at least one racial groups, and the policy or practice is either not job-related and consistent with a business necessity, or there is a less discriminatory alternative that the employer has refused to adopt it.

Race discrimination also occurs when work is assigned based on race. Unfortunately, employers still do segregate employees or assign particular jobs based on race. Our Ohio race discrimination attorneys have dealt with employers that only hired African Americans to be dishwashers because it was a Black job; and bosses that would not allow Blacks to be waiters or maître d’ at high scale restaurants. Segregation occurs where African-American salespeople are assigned to “Black Ghettos” while Caucasian salespeople are assigned to affluent White neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, our race discrimination lawyers have seen racial classifications are used by the employer on applications or interview forms either overtly or by designated code. For example, our employment discrimination attorneys have seen employers “slyly” use such codes as chocolate and vanilla, BM (for black mama), GP (for ghetto person) as well as “cookie” and “cream.”

Recognizing Racial Harassment

In addition to race discrimination, racial harassment is also illegal. Racial harassment is defined by law as unwelcome conduct that unreasonably interferes with an employee’s ability to work. Racial harassment can also occur when a company allows or creates a hostile, offensive, or intimidating workplace. In this regard, race harassment may include race-based insults, jokes, slurs, epithets, mockery, objects, and/or pictures, that disrupt work performance. Your employer will be directly liable for the racially harassing conduct of supervisors, managers, and bosses; and may be liable if does not stop such conduct from coworkers and even non-employees customers or patron over whom the employer has some control – like asking a restaurant patron to leave for racially harassing language or actions.

Although racial discrimination takes many forms, you should immediately call Spitz, The Employee's Law Firm, if you find yourself saying or searching the internet for the following:

  • I was fired today after I reported that my boss is a racist.
  • I was not promoted because I’m Black, even though I have more experience, higher test results, and better interview scores than the White person who got the job.
  • My boss keeps calling me Ghetto trash, blackie, nigger, boy, spade, Buck Wheat, Aunt Jemima, Uncle Tom, coon, n-lover and other racially offensive names.
  • My manager would not do anything after I reported that coworkers were hanging nooses in my locker and making KKK jokes.
  • I was fired when my supervisor found out that I was dating a Black guy.
  • My boss regularly tells racial jokes about protecting your wallet because the black guy is coming; jokes about being paid bonuses in watermelons; and crude jokes about why White women date Black men.
  • As a Black woman, I am paid less than white workers in the same position.
  • As an African American man, I was fired for doing the same thing as White employees.
  • My company got rid of mostly all the Black workers during a layoff but kept most of the White employees.
  • There are no African American managers at my job and I just got passed over for a promotion by a less qualified Caucasian.
  • My supervisor makes all the Black laborers do all the heavy lifting and dirty work while the White workers sit by the truck and watch.

Because we know that many clients are not able to afford the costs of litigation up front, we take on more cases on a contingency fee basis than most firms. Contingency fee agreements mean that the client need not pay any fee for legal services unless and until our employment attorneys recover money and/or results on your race discrimination claim.

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A Few Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Racial Discrimination

Unfortunately, racial discrimination occurs far too often in Ohio and throughout the United States. At Spitz, The Employee's Law Firm, we fight against these instances to ensure a fair working environment for all. If you’re wondering whether you’ve been discriminated against because of your race, we’ve addressed some of the more common questions we receive right here:

What Should I Do If I Was Taken Off A Job Because The Customer Does Not Like Black People? Can An Employer Make Employment Decisions Based On The Racial Preference Of Its Clients?

Race Discrimination Attorney: Absolutely not. Any employment decisions that are made based on the racial preferences of clients, customers, or coworkers will be deemed intentional race discrimination. Employers cannot point the finger at their clients or customers in order to avoid liability for making a decision to fire, suspend, lay off, or transfer a Black worker. Moreover, employers cannot place all of their Black employees in stores that mostly service Black customers while placing all the White employees in stores that have mostly White customers.

Can I Be Fired For Reporting Race Discrimination Or Racial Harassment? What Should I Do If I Was Fired Today Right After I Reported Racism At Work BY My Boss To HR?

Race Discrimination Attorney: Both Ohio and Federal law prohibit an employer from retaliating against an employee that has engaged in protected activity, including opposing a racially motivated practice that the employee reasonably believes is made unlawful by one of the employment discrimination statutes or of filing a charge, testifying, assisting, or participating in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under the statute. Thus, an employer cannot fire, demote, discipline or take other adverse actions against any employee from complaining about the infringement of their or any other employees’ rights to be free from racial discrimination. Given this, it becomes extremely important for you to document your complaints of racial discrimination or race harassment in writing – be it by note, fax, email or even text message. If need be, our employment law lawyers can assist you in drafting a complaint to submit to your job, boss, manager, supervisor, or HR.

How Do I Prove Race Discrimination?

Race Discrimination Attorney: A lot will depend on how your job or boss perpetrated the race discrimination. Obviously, the best and easiest was to prove race discrimination is if your manager said “I’m not promoting you because I don’t want any Blacks in this job;” repeatedly used the n-word; or said, “I cannot trust black people with keys.” Such statements are direct evidence of race discrimination. If there is no direct evidence of discrimination, race discrimination can be proven by presenting a “prima facie case” through circumstantial evidence.

Taking this approach, the employee or worker has to present evidence of four things: (1) you are minority race; (2) the company that you work or applied to work for took adverse employment action against you (this would include being terminated, demoted, passed over for a promotion, or not even hired for the job); (3) you are qualified for the job or position in dispute; and (4) you were treated differently or replaced by a person that is outside of the protected class (a White employee was promoted over an African American worker). If the employee can do this, the employer has the easy burden to simply state its legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the adverse action taken against you (“We fired you for poor attendance.”) At that point, the employee has the opportunity to prove that the reason given for the employer’s adverse action is simply not true (I am supposed to get a warning for being late, but have never been written up before being fired for my first tardy, and Caucasian employees have been late several times without any discipline).

Do Race Discrimination Laws Also Cover White Workers? As A White Employee, Can I File A Race Discrimination Claim?

Race Discrimination Attorney: Yes. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Ohio’s R.C. § 4112.99, which are the federal and state laws prohibiting race discrimination, do not even mention a specific race. Therefore, any employee who is fired, demoted, or denied a promotion or benefits because of his or her race would have a valid claim for race discrimination. In so-called “reverse discrimination” cases, proving the case changes a little to take into account the fact that the employee or worker is not part of a minority class. While several federal circuit courts require the employee to demonstrate that “background circumstances support the suspicion that the defendant is that unusual employer who discriminates against the majority,” others use a different test. For example, in Iadimarco v. Runyon, the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that “a plaintiff who brings a ‘reverse discrimination’ suit under Title VII should be able to establish a prima facie case in the absence of direct evidence of discrimination by presenting sufficient evidence to allow a reasonable fact finder to conclude (given the totality of the circumstances) that the defendant treated plaintiff ‘less favorably than others because of [his or her] race, color, religion, sex or national origin.’” (quoting Furnco Constr. Corp. v. Waters). Under this test, the employee is not required to present direct evidence, but only enough evidence to create an inference of discrimination. See Pivirotto v. Innovative Systems, Inc.

Can My Job Have A So-Called Neutral Policy That Is Still Racially Discriminatory?

Race Discrimination Attorney: Yes. This is what Ohio race discrimination lawyers call disparate impact claims. To that end, your company’s purportedly race-neutral employment practices are illegal if those policies have the effect, whether intentional or unintentional, of discriminating based on race. Thus, your boss’s intentions and motives are not relevant to employment practices, rules, and/or policies that create a disparate impact on particular races. To establish a disparate impact claim, an employee must establish show that the facially neutral practices, rules, and/or policies have caused a significantly discriminatory hiring, promotion, or termination pattern by demonstrating a significant statistical disparity created by that policy. Your company can only defend a disparate impact claim by proving that the challenged practice, rule, and/or policy is job-related for the particular job at issue and consistent with real business necessity. This means that employers may not use practices, rules, and/or policies that create a discriminatory effect except if they truly reflect the minimum qualifications need to do the job at issue.

I Was Fired Today Because I'm Black; Can I Sue? Do I Have A Claim For Race Discrimination Or Wrongful Termination?

Race Discrimination Attorney: Our racial discrimination lawyers have filled this employment law website with as much law as we possibly could. However, an interactive evaluation of your individual rights and claims for race discrimination and wrongful termination cannot be performed online without direct conversations with one of our lawyers, who will need to talk to you about your particular situation and what happen on your job.

At Spitz, The Employee's Law Firm, we provide a free initial consultation for potential claims in Ohio. Do not speculate about your possible employment rights and claims when you can bet an answer by calling us or filling out the submission form to the right.

DISCLAIMER: These answers do not constitute legal advice or guidance.

It’s Crucial That You Call The Right Attorney™ Today

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 schedule an appointment, you will meet with a race discrimination lawyer from Spitz, The Employee's Law Firm, who will help you determine the best way to pursue your legal claims.

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