Racism in the workplace can take many forms, but for the purpose of this article, racism in the workplace refers to behavior in which an individual is subjected to negative treatment because of their race. Individuals may experience racism at work when they are treated poorly or accused of poor performance due to assumptions about what people of their race can or cannot do.

Tackling Racial Discrimination In The Workplace

Here are four ways employers can take meaningful action to address racism in the workplace.

Continue the Conversation

The first step is to accept the wrongs that exist now and commit to improving them. It’s critical that there are actions behind your words in order for them to be meaningful. Employers can begin doing so by engaging in constructive and courteous discussions, forming employee resource groups, educating employees about preventing harassment and prejudice, and establishing channels where workers may voice their concerns without fear of being disciplined or fired.

Embed Anti-Racism Into Your Values, Behavior And Instruction

Creating a stronger, healthier, and better culture inside the company is contingent on adhering to a solid set of fundamental principles that are embedded in every policy, decision, and process. It’s now or never to disavow any weak policies, behaviors, collaborations, or customer connections that run counter to your corporate values.

Increase public awareness

Apart from talks, employers may engage individuals about racism by supplying information on the culture of racism and the history of other races. The majority of people are unaware of racial injustice or the remarks they make without realizing it towards their Black, Indigenous, or People of Color coworkers.

Unfortunately, victims of racism frequently remain silent for fear of reprisal or being found to be prejudiced. This is where management fails because it refuses to acknowledge the explicit expressions or actions that are racist.

The need for more awareness of racism is essential. Racism may be overlooked or excused, which establishes a tone that is acceptable. This is how poisonous cultures grow and spread. It starts with one mistake that’s ignored and quickly progresses to two, five, ten, and eventually becomes the norm.

Race Discrimination is Illegal

Race discrimination is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and according to the Florida Civil Rights Act. Employees who believe that their employers have discriminated against them based on race can file a claim with either federal or state authorities depending on where they worked. The Florida Commission on Human Relations investigates complaints filed through the Florida Civil Rights Act while the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal discrimination laws.

Florida Civil Rights Act

Most Florida employees are covered under the Florida Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, among other things. The statute covers employers with 15 or more employees and applies to all government agencies in the state.

While racism can be very overt, comments about an individual’s race or actions that reveal racism are not always obvious. Some of the most common forms of racism in the workplace include:

  • Telling jokes about another race;
  • Using slurs or negative references when talking about someone of another race;
  • Offering better working conditions to individuals who share your race;
  • Paying different wages for identical work because someone is of a different race; and
  • Punishing individuals of one race more harshly than employees of another race.

It is illegal to discriminate against anyone because of their race under Title VII, the Florida Civil Rights Act, and many other state laws. Discrimination in violation of these laws can take two forms: disparate treatment or disparate impact.

Disparate treatment occurs when an individual is treated differently because of his or her race compared to others who are similarly situated. Disparate impact describes policies that are neutral on their face but that result in discrimination against individuals based on their race even if there was no intent to discriminate.

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Are You Dealing with Racism in the Workplace?

If you believe that your employer discriminated against you because of your race, there are steps you may be able to take to resolve the problem. If possible, try to talk about the issue with your employer or a supervisor. This can often resolve the problem quickly, especially if it was an unintentional mistake.

If this does not work, you may need to pursue your legal rights. You can either file a complaint with the Florida Civil Rights Commission or the EEOC depending on whether your claim is covered by state or federal law. If you are considering filing a charge against your employer, there are strict filing deadlines that must be met, so do not delay in contacting an attorney who will be able to help guide you through each step of the process.

Employees have 180 days from the date of discrimination to file with the Florida Civil Rights Commission while individuals have 300 days to file with the EEOC once they learn about their protected status being violated under Title VII. There are also other time limits that vary by state and type of charge that must be met, so it is best to contact an experienced Florida employment law attorney as soon as possible if you believe that your race has affected your work environment and/or salary.

Contact a Florida Employment Lawyer About Race Discrimination

While racism can happen anywhere, the workplace is a common area where discrimination takes place. Employees who feel they have been subjected to racism in the workplace for any reason should discuss their concerns with an attorney who will assess the facts of their case and determine what legal options may be available. Contact an employment lawyer at Brenton Legal in Florida at (954) 639-4644 or fill out an online form.

Ryan Brenton

Ryan Brenton, the founding partner of Brenton Legal PA, is a distinguished employment lawyer with a profound expertise in a variety of employment disputes. His practice encompasses complex litigation, wage and hour class action cases, and discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims. Representing a diverse clientele, from minimum wage workers to executives, Ryan has successfully argued cases in both state and federal courts, as well as in administrative proceedings. His legal acumen has earned him a national reputation and respect from clients and peers alike. A graduate of Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center, and holding a B.S. in Economics from Florida Atlantic University, Ryan's legal prowess is underpinned by a solid educational foundation. His commitment to justice and fairness in the workplace marks him as a trusted advocate in the field of employment law.

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