Virginia Race Discrimination Lawyer
Race discrimination in the workplace occurs when an employer treats an employee in an adverse way based on the employee’s race or a characteristic connected with that employee’s race. Physical characteristics associated with race include skin color, facial features, and hair styling. As you might expect, discrimination on the basis of race is illegal (subject to a few exceptions).
Our qualified workplace discrimination lawyers focus solely on employment matters and could help you fight back against unlawful employment discrimination. Our Virginia race discrimination lawyers are especially familiar with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which serves as the legal basis for most claims of employment race discrimination.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Besides race, Title VII also prohibits discrimination by employers on the basis of color, religion, national origin and sex. However, Title VII only applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers an employer with 15 or more employees and makes it illegal to treat somebody differently on the basis of race. Any kind of mistreatment, whether it is firing, demotion, or failure to promote on the basis of race, would be illegal under Title 7.
Discriminatory employment activities based on an employee’s race can take many forms under Title VII, such as:
- Refusal to hire
- Workplace discipline
- Job evaluations
Actions to Take if You Face Racial Discrimination at Work
A Virginia race discrimination lawyer may recommend that you keep a journal of the race discrimination you are facing, including important facts to serve as evidence in support of your allegations. Find out what your employer’s complaint or reporting procedures are for claims of race discrimination and follow them the best you can. This might include filing a formal complaint with human resources or making contact with a designated officer in your company.
File a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or applicable EEO Counselor as soon as you can. There are deadlines to preserve the legal rights that you do not want to miss, and as always, call a Virginia race discrimination attorney.
Race-Based Discrimination Between Employees of the Same Race
All races are covered under Virginia discrimination law. If an individual is treated differently on the basis of their race, that could be a violation of Virginia anti-discrimination law. The courts are pretty clear that racial discrimination can be perpetrated by people of their own race. For example, an African-American boss can discriminate against African-American employees. A white boss can discriminate against white employees. The fact that they are of the same race does not absolve them from discrimination on the basis of race.
Can Workplace Policies That Apply to All Employees Be Considered a Form of Race-Based Discrimination?
It is possible that workplace policies that apply to all employees can be considered race-based discrimination under Virginia law. Dress codes are particularly difficult policies. The courts have given employers some leeway in enacting dress codes even though it can disproportionately affect one class of people, but it is certainly possible for a workplace policy to have a disparate impact on a particular race that would make it illegal. Courts tend to give employers a bit more leeway in enforcing certain dress codes. For example, requiring women to wear makeup and not requiring men could, in some circumstances, be considered legal even though it has a disproportionate impact on the women that are being forced or disallowed to wear makeup. However, this is usually a rare occurrence.
Racial Discrimination at a Small Businesses
Based on the information given, you probably cannot sue your employer for racial discrimination under Title VII, but there that does not mean your employer is in the clear. First, even though your employer has concluded that only has 13 employees, does not mean the courts interpreting Title VII will see it that way. If your employer has part-time employees or contract workers, it is possible they could be considered part of the employee count total and meet the 15 employee threshold of Title VII.
Second, even if Title VII does not apply to your case, a state or local law might. For example, Washington, D.C. has its own anti-discrimination law called the DC Human Rights Act. This law prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of race and applies to employers of any size. Virginia has a similar law called the Virginia Human Rights Act that applies to employers with as few as six employees. A Virginia race discrimination lawyer could answer questions you may have about the Virginia Human Rights Act and work diligently to protect your rights.
Racial Bullying in Virginia
Although whether the harassing behavior will be legally recognized as unlawful depends on the severity of the misconduct and how much of it you are facing. Racial harassment becomes unlawful if it unreasonably interferes with work or otherwise creates an intimidating or hostile work environment. As a general rule, the most severe the harassment, the fewer occurrences are needed to create illegal harassment.
If you are African-American and your boss performs an act of violence on you, then that is probably enough to constitute racial harassment. But if you have a coworker who repeats a joke he heard that makes fun of African-Americans, then that single instance probably will not be enough to warrant legal action for racial harassment, no matter how politically incorrect or insensitive it was to make the joke. A Virginia race discrimination lawyer could help you take legal action.
Contacting a Skilled Race Discrimination Lawyer in Virginia
People work best in environments where they feel that they are being respected. It is hard to work in an environment where you are forced to endure racial discrimination and harassment. You have the right to work in an environment where you feel safe and respected. If you believe you are the victim of racial discrimination, please contact us so our Virginia race discrimination lawyers can help you decide what your legal rights are and what your next steps should be.