Racial discrimination law protects you from experiencing harassment, disparate treatment, or wrongful termination based on your ethnicity or national origin. Racial discrimination can take many different forms that range from negative comments to denied opportunities.

The process of reporting and investigating racial discrimination has several different steps. You should seek legal counsel from a racial discrimination attorney before you file an official Charge of Discrimination. West Coast Employment Lawyers will be happy to advise you on this matter.

What Constitutes Racial Discrimination?

Racial discrimination occurs when someone is treated negatively because of their presumed ethnicity, skin color, or other racial features. Discrimination can occur against both job applicants and current employees, and it can be perpetrated by anyone regardless of skin color or status. It is possible to racially discriminate against someone for their marriage to or association with a person of a perceived racial group.

Although there is no conclusive list of all manners of racial discrimination, racial discrimination lawsuits tend to cover three main forms of discrimination:

  • Harassment: Negative comments, derogatory statements, and offensive symbols are all forms of harassment. These behaviors are illegal if they create a hostile work environment or when they impact an employment decision. Jokes or casual incidents may not always be considered harassment.
  • Conditions of Employment: No aspect of your employment may be decided based on race. Discrimination can include denying someone training or promotion, unfairly choosing their job duties or benefits, or terminating them from their current position.
  • Universal Policies: Unless it is necessary to the function of a position, it is illegal to have a universal policy that negatively impacts the employment of a specific race. These policies may include break standards, dress codes, or other mandatory behavioral requirements.

Contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The EEOC enforces racial discrimination law. This department is responsible for addressing and investigating any charges of employment discrimination and has the authority to settle cases or file suit on the defendant’s behalf.

You can report racial discrimination by filing a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC. Before you file a charge, you should submit an online inquiry and speak to an EEOC representative. This representative will help you understand the situation and determine if you should proceed with your charge. You may file a charge regardless of the advice offered.

A Charge of Discrimination is a signed statement that discrimination has taken place. You must file this charge within 180 calendar days of the event in question. This time may be extended to 300 days if there is a state or local law that also prohibits this discrimination.

After a Charge Is Filed

The EEOC will contact your employer and inform them of your charge. From here, the charge may result in either mediation or investigation.

You and your employer may agree to mediation. An EEOC mediator will attempt to help you reach a voluntary settlement. This course of action can take significantly less time than a full investigation or a lawsuit.

If mediation is unsuccessful or simply inappropriate to the situation, the EEOC will pursue an investigation.

Your employer will be asked to complete a Respondent’s Position Statement within 30 days. The EEOC will notify you when this statement is available to view, and you may file your own response within 20 days.

The EEOC will then conduct an investigation and asses each of the allegations. The EEOC may ask your employer to hold interviews, or they may hold the interviews themselves. All related documents will be gathered and assessed.

Investigations settle in an average of 10 months. You may amend your charge to include any new discriminatory events that occur during this time, but you must make your report within 180 days of the incident. In some cases, the EEOC may recommend filing a new charge entirely.

The EEOC will attempt to negotiate a voluntary settlement with your employer if they believe that the law has been violated. Cases that do not result in such a settlement will be forwarded to the EEOC’s legal team. The EEOC has the authority to file a discrimination suit on your behalf. You may also choose to pursue your own suit.

After the investigation, you may be sent a Notice of Right to Sue. This notice will be sent under two circumstances: either the EEOC is not able to clearly determine the details of your case, or the EEOC believes that discrimination has occurred but does not intend to file their own suit. You have 90 days to file a suit after you receive this notice.

If the investigation is not completed or will not be completed within 180 days after you file the charge, you can ask the EEOC to prematurely give you a Notice of Right to Sue. Follow up with the investigation and make sure your case is handled in a timely fashion.

Contact a Racial Discrimination Attorney

The EEOC can offer you advice, but you should still seek legal counsel as early as possible. Most employers have significant legal resources at their disposal and will seek their own counsel as your charge is processed.

Your employer will be notified when a charge is filed. You should contact a racial discrimination lawyer before this occurs.

Your racial discrimination attorney will help you find an appropriate course of action to take while the investigation is underway. They will also offer you advice during the mediation process and make sure that you get a fair settlement.

As the investigation is conducted, prepare for your lawsuit. Be ready to file as soon as you receive the Notice of Right to Sue. Gather discovery documents for your lawyer; these include:

  • All relevant communications, including emails, text messages, and voice mails.
  • Employment records and pay stubs from this employer.
  • HR documents related to the case.
  • Counseling forms or statements from your therapist.
  • Other documents that may be relevant to the investigation.

Filing a Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

If you are unable to reach a settlement with your employer, your investigation may result in a lawsuit. Contact your racial discrimination lawyer as soon as you receive your Notice of Right to Sue. You have 90 days to submit the required paperwork; your lawyer will help you complete the necessary documents and advise you on the correct course of action.

Racial discrimination lawsuits are a serious matter; the EEOC prefers to settle through mediation or conciliation whenever possible. You have a right to fair workplace treatment regardless of your race, color, or ethnicity. Contact your attorney as soon as you feel that discrimination has occurred to discuss an appropriate course of action.

The attorneys at West Coast Employment Lawyers specialize in all forms of employment law and are experienced in handling racial discrimination cases. If you feel that you have experienced unfair treatment due to your race or national origin, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to offer you a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.