Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Civil Rights Act of 1866 make it unlawful for employers to discriminate on the basis of race or color in connection with hiring, firing, demotion, promotion, compensation, and other terms and conditions of employment. Employers may not make employment decisions based on racial stereotypes, an individual's relationship with someone of a different race, or association with ethnic-based groups and organizations including schools and places of worship. The 1964 Act applies to employers with 15 or more employees; the 1866 Act applies to employers with any number of employees.
It is also unlawful for an employer to harass an employee because of his or her race or color. Likewise, employers may not retaliate against individuals who have complained about race discrimination or refused to participate in discriminatory employment practices. Other state and local laws provide similar protections.
Discrimination claims under the 1964 Act must first be filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") before the employee can sue the employer in federal court. Employees may sue the employer in federal court under the 1866 Act without having to file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC.
If you think you have been subjected to race discrimination or harassment, call us at 312.269.0200 or contact us online to discuss your rights.