Top 6 Types of Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

Racial discrimination is a prevalent issue in the workplace. You may not even be aware that it is happening in your workplace. Racial discrimination can be defined as treating an applicant or employee unfairly due to his/her race and/or personal characteristics associated with a race. Personal characteristics include, but are not limited to, hair texture, skin color, or facial features. Below is a bulleted list explaining the six different kinds of racial discrimination that employees may not be aware of.

  1. Associative discrimination: Discriminating against a person because they are associated with someone who has protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. An example of this type of discrimination is when an employer will not hire an applicant due to said applicant’s association with his/her spouse or friends.
  2. Biracial discrimination: Discriminating against a person who has a mixed-race background.
  3. Color discrimination: Also known as “colorism”, is discriminating against a person based on his/her skin color.
  4. Intersectional discrimination: Discriminating against an individual’s personal characteristics/identities. These may include gender, sex, race, class, sexuality, religion, ability, or physical appearance.
  5. Reverse discrimination: Discriminating against members of a dominant or majority group, favoring members of a minority disadvantaged group.
  6. Same-race discrimination: Discriminating against a person of the same race as yourself.

Any kind of racial discrimination in the workplace is illegal; recognizing the signs is the first step to putting a halt to this behavior. Some examples of being discriminated against in the workplace include, but are not limited to:

  • Making inappropriate comments or jokes about an employee’s race, creating a hostile environment.
  • Referring to employees with racial slurs.
  • Giving certain races different job duties.
  • Asking an applicant to disclose his/her racial identity.
  • Disciplining certain employees unfairly due to the basis of his/her race.

Other forms of discrimination:

  1. Direct discrimination occurs when an applicant meets all the job requirements but failed to get hired because the applicant does not meet the company’s “look.” To prove direct discrimination, the applicant would have to prove that the employer favored a different racial group.
  2. Indirect discrimination occurs when the employer has implemented a set of rules that gives certain racial and ethnic groups a disadvantage.
  3. Racial harassment includes overtly insulting remarks and behavior. This can include any unwanted conduct that speaks on an employee’s race, creating an offensive environment.
  4. Victimization is an act of singling someone out for cruel or unjust treatment. This is a direct form of racial discrimination that is protected by the Equality Act because it takes away a person’s right to defend themselves. Many employees are afraid to speak up in fear of being victimized.

Remember, Title VII prohibits racial discrimination in the workplace and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is there to administer the act. If you believe that you are being discriminated against in the workplace, contact Scott Gilmore Thompson today. Matt Scott is here to assist and provide you with the guidance and legal help you need.