Race Discrimination

Knowledgeable Employment Attorney Serving the New York City Area

Workplace race discrimination occurs when a job applicant or employee is treated unfavorably due to their race or due to personal characteristics associated with race. Some personal characteristics commonly associated with race include skin color, hair texture, and specific facial features. Discrimination may occur even when the person doing the discriminating is mistaken about the race to which an employee belongs via perceived race discrimination. It may also occur when someone is treated unfavorably because they are married to someone of a specific race or when both the victim and the perpetrator of the discrimination are of the same race. Emre Polat is an aggressive New York City race discrimination lawyer who represents both employees and employers in sensitive and often heated situations.

Race Discrimination

Race discrimination is prohibited in the workplace, along with color discrimination. Employers must make decisions related to hiring, firing, job assignments, layoffs, pay, fringe benefits, training, and all of the terms and conditions of employment without regard for an employee’s race or color. An example of race discrimination would be a job application asking about an applicant’s race, and then a job applicant not getting the job because they belong to a specific racial minority. Another example of race discrimination would be if you work for a company that has clients who are stereotyped as bigoted against people of a particular race, and your boss decides that you should not have a position in which you deal with those clients because you are of the stated race. Another example of race discrimination would be choosing to give big accounts or clients only to workers who do not belong to a racial minority.

When a policy or practice disproportionately affects people of a particular race or color, and the policy is not job-related and necessary to conducting the business, it may be found racially discriminatory even if it seems neutral on its face. For example, the first U.S. Supreme Court decision addressing disparate impact litigation involved a company that required high school diplomas for job applicants. The employer was not acting intentionally, but the requirement at that time excluded significantly more black applicants than white applicants. Generally, disparate impact on the basis of race requires substantial statistical analysis, and it is best to consult a race discrimination attorney in New York City about the viability of a particular claim.

One form of race discrimination is racial harassment, which is illegal. Harassment might include the display of racially offensive symbols, the use of epithets or offensive statements about race or color, and racial slurs. Harassment becomes illegal if it results in an adverse employment decision or if it creates a hostile work environment due to its frequency or severity.

Title VII is the federal law prohibiting race discrimination. It only applies to employers that have more than 15 employees, and it prohibits their use of race as the basis for hiring a job applicant, laying off workers, firing a worker, paying less, or providing job benefits.

Similarly, New York State, New York City, and New Jersey laws prohibit race discrimination in workplaces with four or more employees. Unlike with federal laws, there are no damages caps on race discrimination cases brought under these laws.

An employee may recover compensatory and possibly punitive damages when there has been intentional discrimination based on race or color. Compensatory damages account for out-of-pocket expenses caused by discrimination, such as medical expenses and compensation for emotional harm sustained in connection with the discrimination, such as loss of enjoyment of life or mental anguish. Punitive damages are only available to punish employers that act in an especially malicious way.

Consult a Race Discrimination Lawyer in New York City

Both employers and employees must have knowledgeable counsel when engaged in litigation. This type of lawsuit has the potential to become explosive, and a knowledgeable New York City race discrimination attorney can make sure that your rights are protected. Emre Polat is an experienced and aggressive litigator who represents employees in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, as well as in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties and in New Jersey. Call us at (212) 480-4500 or submit our online form to set up an appointment with a wrongful termination attorney or seek advice with another employment dispute.

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