Protecting your rights in the workplace.

What Is Race Discrimination in the Workplace?

Race discrimination in employment refers to unfair and prejudicial treatment of individuals in the workplace based on their race, ethnicity, or perceived racial characteristics. While laws are in place to prohibit such discriminatory practices, instances continue to occur, necessitating a deeper understanding of the issue and a collective effort to eradicate it.

Forms of Race Discrimination

Race discrimination in employment can manifest in various forms, including:

Hiring Practices

Discrimination can occur during the hiring process when employers make decisions based on an individual’s race rather than their qualifications and abilities.

Promotions and Advancements

Unfair treatment may manifest in promotions or advancement opportunities, where employees are overlooked or treated differently based on race.

Compensation Disparities

Race discrimination can lead to unequal pay for employees of different racial backgrounds, even when they perform similar roles and have comparable qualifications.


Harassment based on race involves offensive comments, slurs, or actions that create a hostile work environment, adversely affecting targeted individuals.


Employees who assert their rights against racial discrimination may face retaliation, such as termination, demotion, or unfavorable treatment in response to their complaints.


Discrimination can lead to wrongful termination, where employees are dismissed from their positions solely due to their race rather than job performance.

Unequal Work Conditions

Differences in work conditions, assignments, or opportunities based on an individual’s race are indicative of discrimination in the workplace.

Legal Protections Against Race Discrimination

Several laws at the federal and state levels protect employees against race discrimination:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title VII is a landmark federal law that prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including private employers, state and local governments, and educational institutions.

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

FEHA is California’s state law that provides protections against employment discrimination, including race discrimination. It applies to employers with five or more employees and covers a broader range of employers than federal law. FEHA prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, and other protected characteristics.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency responsible for enforcing Title VII and other anti-discrimination laws. Whereas, California has the Civil Rights Department (CRD) that enforces FEHA.

Addressing Race Discrimination

Individuals who believe they have been subjected to race discrimination in the workplace can file a complaint with the EEOC or CRD. Both agencies investigate these claims and may take legal action against employers. If resolution is not achieved, the EEOC or CRD may issue a “right-to-sue” notice, allowing you to pursue a lawsuit.

File a Lawsuit

Upon receiving a right-to-sue notice, you can file a lawsuit against your employer. Lawsuits can seek damages for lost wages, emotional distress, and other relevant losses resulting from race discrimination.

Individuals who believe they have experienced race discrimination should consider consulting an experienced and trusted Los Angeles Race Discrimination Attorney. They can guide you through the process of filing complaints from beginning to end, including helping you gather evidence to build a solid case, devising a legal strategy tailored to your situation, providing representation in legal proceedings, and filing a lawsuit on your behalf if necessary.