Employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees or potential employees on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability. Some signs of racial discrimination are surprisingly apparent, but in many cases, the signs are subtler.
It is clear that making derogatory remarks about a certain group or using racial slurs at work constitutes overt discrimination. Making a generalization about all members of a certain race is also overt discrimination. Indirect workplace discrimination may be subtle. It occurs when members of a certain group are treated differently by their current or potential employer. For example, if a hiring manager demands more proof of qualifications for members of a certain racial group than they do for other potential employees, the employer has engaged in a discriminatory practice.
Other signs of indirect discrimination include assigning different jobs to members of a certain group. For example, if all members of a certain racial group are assigned to jobs that require less customer interaction, this could be a sign of discrimination. Another example is passing over some members of a group for promotions despite an available selection from a large pool of similarly qualified candidates.
An attorney may be able to help individuals who believe that their civil rights were violated due to workplace discrimination. An attorney may help employees gather evidence of racial discrimination by requesting their personnel file and interviewing witnesses. An attorney may be able to request limited information about other employees such as wage information.
An attorney might also be able to help individuals who have experienced retaliation from an employer for reporting discrimination. Reporting discrimination is a protected activity, and an employee may not be terminated or demoted on the basis of reporting unlawful discrimination by coworkers or supervisors.