How to Protect Yourself against Workplace Racism

Photo of employee handbookWorkplace racism is an unfortunate reality for millions of workers across the United States, many of whom are denied promotions and openly harassed for the color of their skin.

In a joint CNN and Kaiser Family Foundation poll, it was discovered 26 percent of African Americans and 15 percent of Hispanics have reported discrimination as a major personal issue in the workplace. Both groups argued they have been treated unfairly due to their ethnicity.

Employees facing discrimination are sometimes harassed or denied promotions. Workplace racism can also include discrepancies over hiring, pay, work assignments and benefits. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employees are protected against workplace racism.

  • Employees can file discrimination disputes through the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC might carry out an investigation, so it helps to have as much proof of discrimination as possible. If possible, save emails and keep notes of racial discrimination and harassment.
  • In California, workers can file complaints with their local Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

What Happens When Employment Agencies Dismiss My Workplace Racism Dispute?

In some cases, both federal and state employment agencies may refuse to act on your behalf. Fortunately, there are still options for employees who are members of protected classes.

Employees affected by workplace racism can still file lawsuits against their employers even if the EEOC and California DFEH fail to act on their behalf. Depending on the circumstances and evidence gathered, additional legal options may be used to hold employers accountable for workplace racism.