Combating Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in Employment

Authored by Merrick Law Firm LLC

The Persistent Issue of Race and National Origin Discrimination

Despite legal protections and a general societal agreement that it is fundamentally wrong, discrimination based on race or national origin persists in workplaces across the nation. At Merrick Law Firm LLC, we recognize the considerable emotional and career toll this takes on individuals, as well as the damaging repercussions for employers who engage in or permit such discriminatory practices. Legal actions in recent years have highlighted the issue, with significant monetary settlements emphasizing the need for vigilance and justice in the fight against workplace discrimination.

Understanding Race Discrimination in Employment

Race discrimination occurs when an employer bases employment decisions or enacts policies that unjustly affect employees of a specific race. Job-related decisions that should never be influenced by race include hiring, promotions, salary, benefits, training, and any other terms of employment. Discriminatory actions can range from promoting only employees of a particular race to imposing specific conditions, such as non-universal drug testing requirements or customer interaction restrictions, based on racial characteristics.

Even employment policies that appear neutral can be discriminatory if they have an undue adverse impact on employees from certain racial backgrounds. Our legal team at Merrick Law Firm LLC is well-versed in such nuances and is poised to defend the rights of those impacted by unfair policies that might not be immediately identified as discriminatory.

National Origin Discrimination: What You Need to Know

Discrimination based on national origin involves adverse employment decisions influenced by an individual’s ancestry, place of birth, cultural background, linguistic traits, or surnames linked to a specific national origin group. This form of discrimination can manifest in various ways, such as refusing to hire candidates with certain surnames or barring individuals with accents from engaging with the public, and is unequivocally illegal.

While there are circumstances where a business may legally require employees to speak only English during work hours, Merrick Law Firm LLC advises that these rules must be clearly defined, necessary for business operations, and applied fairly. Any such policies must be communicated to employees, detailing when English must be spoken and the implications of not following the rule.

The Illegality of Harassment Based on Race or National Origin

Harassment that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment because of an individual’s race or national origin is strictly prohibited. Harassing conduct can take many forms, including derogatory language, jokes, symbolic acts, or inquiries about cultural practices that impact an individual’s job performance and workplace well-being.

Taking Action Against Discrimination

If you face discrimination or have suspicions of such conduct within your workplace, Merrick Law Firm LLC suggests several steps:

  1. Document incidents: Create a detailed log of all potential discriminatory actions or comments.
  2. Speak with colleagues: Discuss your experiences to determine if others have encountered similar treatment.
  3. Report internally: Use established company protocols or speak to a management official not implicated in your concerns.
  4. File a complaint: Contact government entities such as the EEOC if your employer fails to adequately address your concerns.
  5. Pursue legal action: When necessary, litigation can be an essential tool for justice, with the prerequisite of filing an official complaint with relevant government agencies.

The Merrick Law Firm LLC stands prepared to provide guidance and represent those affected by racial or national origin discrimination. For a deeper understanding or to initiate a complaint, reach out to your local EEOC office or state’s fair employment practices agency. Remember, strict timelines apply to filing complaints and lawsuits, so act promptly to ensure your rights are protected.

Navigating the complexities of employment discrimination laws requires legal advice. Merrick Law Firm LLC is committed to advocating for those wronged by such injustices. Contact us at (312) 269-0200 for comprehensive assistance tailored to the current legal landscape and your unique situation. The content in this article is for informational purposes and should not be seen as a substitute for professional legal counsel.

Leveling the Playing Field for Employees

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