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What to do if you experience racial discrimination at work

By April 3, 2018November 14th, 2023No Comments

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.