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What should you know about racial discrimination at work in PA?

On Behalf of | May 6, 2024 | Employment Discrimination

Employees have the right to expect to have a workplace free of discrimination. Yet, there are several different types of discrimination that still occur in Pennsylvania workplaces. One of them is racial discrimination.

Racial discrimination can stem from various aspects of a person’s appearance. This can include their skin color, facial features or hairstyle. Understanding specific points about racial discrimination may help employees to spot it and to act when it occurs.

Identifying direct and indirect discrimination

Direct racial discrimination occurs when an individual is treated less favorably than another in a similar situation based on race. Examples include not hiring someone because of racial stereotypes or specific racial preferences, which can be evident in comments or behaviors during the hiring process.

Indirect discrimination, though less obvious, involves policies or practices that appear neutral but disproportionately disadvantage individuals of certain races. For instance, a company requiring specific dress codes that exclude cultural garments can unfairly target employees from particular racial backgrounds.

Harassment and retaliation

Workplace harassment constitutes unwanted conduct related to a person’s race that creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the individual involved. This can range from racial jokes and slurs circulated among employees to more aggressive forms of bullying and isolation.

Retaliation refers to the unfair treatment of an employee who has made or supported a complaint regarding racial discrimination. This might include demotion, denial of training opportunities or punitive scheduling changes. These behaviors must be based on the report of discrimination. Employers can still discipline employees for matters that go against established company policies.

Racial discrimination is something that’s against the law. It should be clearly forbidden in workplace policies. Victims should have a clear path for reporting these issues, and those reports must be taken seriously. When that doesn’t occur or if an employee believes that an issue has been properly handled, they may opt to pursue a legal claim. Having legal assistance can make it possible for victims to protect their rights and move their complaints through the proper channels in a pursuit for justice.