Federal law forbids any racial harassment or discrimination that creates a hostile, intimidating employment environment. This includes aspects of work such as pay, training, promotions, firing and task assignments.
Color discrimination results from the unfavorable treatment of someone because of their skin color. Similarly, race discrimination occurs when a person receives poor treatment because of their race or physical characteristics associated with race (e.g. hair texture and certain facial features).
Direct racial discrimination happens when someone experiences different and worse treatment at work because of their race. For example, an employer fails to promote a qualified Black employee and instead advances a less qualified person of another race based on the first employee’s Black identity.
This type of discrimination occurs when an employment policy, practice or rule applies the same way to everyone but ends up disadvantaging people from a protected group. An example is requiring employees to adhere to an inflexible dress code, such as men having short hair, leaving workers unable to wear their hair naturally or in culturally significant styles like afros or dreadlocks.
Racial discrimination by association
If an employee shares a connection with someone who has a protected characteristic and the employee receives worse treatment than other people at work because of that relationship, this is racial discrimination by association. For example, an employer treats the employee in a hostile manner after finding out that the employee’s spouse is Asian.
Overall, recognizing some of the signs outlined above can help employees notice if they experience racial discrimination.