What to do if you experience racial discrimination at work

Racial discrimination in the workplace is not only morally wrong, it’s against the law.

There are several federal laws written to address discrimination in the workplace.

It is against the law to discriminate on the basis of the following:

  • Race
  • National origin
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Pregnancy
  • Age


What are some examples of workplace discrimination?

  • Hiring/firing/promotions: If you have the same or higher qualifications for a position in your company, and someone within the company who is less qualified than you gets the job, you may have been a victim of racial discrimination.
  • Coworkers or bosses using racially disparaging language: Using derogatory terms about minorities or people of color is unacceptable in any workplace. If you hear racially derogatory terms in your presence, you might have been a victim of racial discrimination in the workplace.


What should you do if you are the victim of discrimination or harassment because of your race?

If you find yourself the target of racial discrimination or harassment in your workplace, you should take the following steps:

  • Tell your boss: Sometimes, if your superior is not the one discriminating against you, he or she has no idea it’s happening and might not recognize it. You have to report it immediately, and you have to make it clear that you will not tolerate it. Your employer is required to follow the law, but you are the one who has to take responsibility for protecting your personal rights.
  • Ask to file a written report: For each and every instance that you feel you were a victim of racial discrimination, ask that a written report be filed and an investigation be completed. Employers are required to quickly investigate any and all claims of discrimination.
  • Consider filing a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): The EEOC is the government agency tasked with investigating workplace discrimination claims and overseeing compliance of federal anti-discrimination laws. If your employer is not taking your claims seriously, consider filing a claim with the EEOC. This can sometimes elevate the matter quickly so your boss has to pay attention to you. Click here to view the EEOC website.
  • Review your company manual: See what procedures are in place for racial discrimination claims at your place of employment. There might be a form to fill out or a person you should report to that you didn’t know about.
  • Keep a diary and any evidence: Always document for yourself each and every instance of racial discrimination at your office or workplace.
  • Consider hiring a civil rights attorney.


If you or someone you love has been a victim of workplace discrimination, your case could benefit from the help of an experienced civil rights attorney. Contact Jacqui Ford’s office today for assistance.

Race and crime: How race impacts the criminal justice system

Lawmakers and advocates have made great strides in criminal justice reform over the past few years, with more and more states choosing to enact policies that reduce the number of prisoners without increasing violent crime in the communities where they are released.

But the rise of high-profile police shootings in which officers kill black teenagers or men — Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore, Maryland, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to name a few — have highlighted the fact that the color of your skin still plays a huge role in the criminal justice system.

An extensive report published by The Sentencing Project, a nonprofit that seeks to reform the justice system by addressing racial disparities and reducing prison populations, examines just how critical the perception of race is and how perception — how white people associate crime with minorities — is directly related to harsh prison sentences and biased laws.

What did the research uncover?

Here are some of the key findings of the report:

  • White people in the United States are considered “more punitive” than people of color – This means that white people are more likely to support harsher punishments for crime, despite the fact that minorities are more often victims of crime than white people. White people are more likely to support the death penalty than minorities.

  • White people in the United States amplify the amount of crime committed by people of color, because they largely associate crime with people of color. In a survey issued in 2010, it was revealed that white people believed Mexican people and black people were responsible for 20-30 percent more burglaries, drug deals, and juvenile crime than they actually were.

  • Media outlets are partly to blame for the perception that minorities commit more crime, according to the research. The report suggests that minorities are “overrepresented” as crime suspects, while white people are more often portrayed as crime victims. Police, too, play a role when they overgeneralize the description of suspects that media outlets release, like a “black male wearing a baseball cap,” for example.


How do these perceptions on race crossover into the justice system?

Lawmakers and policymakers have responded to those societal perceptions about race, though it’s unclear whether their own biases come into play or whether they are simply responding to what their constituents believe.

Racial bias is a factor in the following elements of the system:

  • Police stops
  • The severity of the charges
  • Setting bail
  • Sentencing

African Americans and Latinos comprise 30 percent of the population, but 58 percent of prisoners are Latino or African American.

If you or someone you love was unfairly targeted by police because of your race, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense and civil rights attorney. Contact Jacqui Ford’s office today.