Racial discrimination in the workplace is one of the most common forms of discrimination in the United States. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination make it illegal to discriminate against any employee based on race, national origin, religion, sex, age, pregnancy, gender identification, or disability.
Employers that terminate, fail to hire or interview, refuse promotion, demote, or otherwise restrict an employee based on their race are in direct violation of the law. Further, employers may also be liable for a hostile work environment.
As advocates for equal employment opportunities, the Atlantic City employment lawyers at Levine, Staller, Sklar, Chan & Brown, P.A. ensure their clients receive the justice and compensation they deserve. The experienced legal team is committed to holding employers liable for unlawful behavior, specifically when they limit employment and career opportunities based on race.
Racial Discrimination in the Workplace
Racial discrimination occurs anytime an employer treats an employee differently than their colleagues simply because of their race. Refusing to interview applicants of a certain race, failing to hire, promote, or advance members of a certain race, and terminating or demoting an employee due to their race or national origin constitutes racial discrimination.
Providing a higher compensation to employees of a certain race, while others are offered less pay is also unlawful. Employers are legally obligated to offer equal pay and benefits to qualified employees regardless of their race.
If an employee is demoted or terminated because they have a relationship with a member of a certain race, the employer can be held liable for racial discrimination. Any employer that allows an employee to be treated unfairly because of an interracial relationship is also in direct violation of federal and state laws.
Racial harassment of an employee falls under racial discrimination as well. Racial slurs, racially offensive jokes or written materials, or racially motivated insults are forms of racial discrimination and may constitute a hostile work environment.
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJ LAD)
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJ LAD) provides state protection against racial discrimination, as well as other forms of discrimination in the workplace. Employees that believe they have been victims of racial discrimination at work can file a lawsuit with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) or the Superior Court of New Jersey.
New Jersey requires all businesses to comply with the laws against discrimination in the workplace, regardless of the number of employees. The NJ LAD was designed to protect employees from discrimination in any form, particularly for those in the workforce.
Proving Discrimination Under the NJLAD
Because there is rarely direct evidence of discrimination, an employee may prove discrimination by presenting indirect evidence. To prove race discrimination under the NJ LAD, you must demonstrate that (1) you are a member of a protected class, (2) that you were objectively qualified for the position or had been performing the job in question, (3) that you suffered an adverse employment action, such as termination or demotion, and (4) that your employer hired or retained employees outside of your race.
If you can meet these initial elements, the burden is then shifted to your employer to present a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for your termination or demotion. If your employer can meet this showing, the burden will then shift back to you to prove that your race played a role in the decision.
Race discrimination cases are amongst the hardest types of cases to prove because it is rare that an employer will tell an employee that they are being terminated because of their race. For this reason, lawyers will often seek to prove through circumstantial evidence and race remarks that an employee was terminated because of their race.
If you have been the victim of unlawful discrimination, you may be entitled to damages. Because of a lawsuit, you may be awarded monetary damages, which can include back pay, such as wages and benefits, out of pocket expenses, such as the costs associated with counseling or job seeking, and front pay, which includes compensation for wages the employee would have made had they not been subjected to the employment discrimination. Damages can also be awarded for emotional distress, including damages suffered because of a hostile work environment, and/or pain and suffering endured because of the discriminatory actions. Punitive damages may be awarded in addition to those mentioned above.
Punitive damages are designed to punish the employer, supervisors, and managers for illegal actions and deter others from similar behavior. Punitive damages are additional compensation that is offered to an employee as a form of retribution against an employer that is guilty of race discrimination. Punitive damages are meant to punish the employer for their illegal actions, and to deter discrimination. Additionally, your employer may also be responsible for attorney fees and court costs.
Atlantic City Employment Lawyers at Levine Staller Advocate for Victims of Race Discrimination
If you or someone you know believes they have been a victim of race discrimination in the workplace, contact the Atlantic City employment lawyers at Levine, Staller, Sklar, Chan & Brown, P.A. at 609-348-1300, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Atlantic City, New Jersey and we serve clients throughout Atlantic County and the state of New Jersey