Race Discrimination: What You Need to Know
Important Race Discrimination Laws
While many states enact their own laws regarding race discrimination, there are a number of related laws that exist at the federal level to which virtually all American business owners must adhere. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is among the more notable of these laws and among the most important for today’s employers to comprehend, as it protects employees from having to deal with racial discrimination in the workplace. The act also dictates that employers may not fail to hire someone because of his or her race, or on the other side, terminate an employee relationship based on race. The act also prevents employers from inappropriately separating employees based on race or from failing to offer benefits or other opportunities to employees because of their countries of origin. Labor union employees are also protected by the act, and they cannot be forced out or otherwise made unable to become a member because of race.
Many states also have their own established rules and regulations regarding racial discrimination within the work environment. Generally, these laws are similar to those in place at the federal level, although they may differ in terms of offering instruction for employees who feel they’ve been unlawfully discriminated against. Often, employees who file race discrimination charges must adhere to hard and fast deadlines in filing their complaints, so it is important for both the employee and the employer to be aware of any filing deadlines that pertain to them at the state level.
Race Characteristics and Considerations: An Overview
To put it simply, not all matters of race discrimination are black and white. In addition to employers not being allowed to discriminate because of skin color, they also may not do so because of a particular feature associated with a certain race, such as hair texture or the layout of facial features. Furthermore, employers may not discriminate on the basis of certain afflictions or health conditions that affect some populations, but not others. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule, and they generally involve instances where a worker’s ability to perform a particular task is seriously compromised because of the affliction or medical condition.
The Process of Filing a Race Discrimination Charge
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the entity that typically receives complaints relating to race and other types of discrimination in the American workplace. Employees who feel they’ve been victims of race discrimination will have to present the EEOC with their personal information, their employer’s personal information, the date the perceived infraction occurred and any additional details regarding the discriminatory act or acts that are the subject of the complaint. In the event that a race discrimination complaint is, in fact, filed with the EEOC, the organization has 10 days to get in touch with both the employee filing complaint and his or her employer. A thorough investigation is typically the next step, and it may take some time to complete, depending on the details surrounding the complaint. Next, the EEOC decides whether the claim is warranted enough to move forward. If it is determined that this is the case, the EEOC may try and obtain a settlement from the employer responsible for the infraction, or it may see that the case moves forward to the courtroom.
There are also number of important deadlines in filing charges of racial discrimination with the EEOC. First and foremost, complaints must be filed within 180 days of the date of the incident in question. In some states, this timeline may be extended to 300 days out. While these deadlines apply to most employees, it is important to note that federal employees face even tighter deadlines, and they must file complaints within 45 days of the date the perceived discriminatory act occurred.
Employers who face race discrimination charges may be subject to considerable finds and additional legal repercussions. Thus, it is critical for today’s employers to fully understand any state or federal laws involving race discrimination to which they must adhere.
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