The law is clearly outlined by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: “The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.”
In addition, federal law protects employees from harassment, omission, or mistreatment based on their skin color. Many employers know the law, yet they choose to break it anyway.
Race discrimination comes in many forms. In a few cases, it is fairly easy to see. However, in most cases, race discrimination occurs in more subtle ways and is difficult to prove. These could include:
- Assigning an employee less desirable tasks;
- Passing an employee over for a raise or promotion;
- Limiting an employee’s ability to earn pay or benefits;
- Evaluating an employee more harshly because of his or her race or skin color, rather than performance;
- Hiring a less qualified white applicant over a more qualified minority job applicant.
Why so little is being done
In many cases, employees choose to bring claims of race discrimination to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to a recent Vox article, the EEOC– as well as affiliated state and local agencies – close more than 100,000 discrimination cases each year. Claims of race discrimination are the most common of these cases, and a quarter of all EEOC complaints are made by black employees. However, these agencies only take action in roughly 15 percent of cases.
In many cases, the EEOC takes no action at all. For example, one worker at Alabama defense manufacturing company Austal USA experienced blatant discrimination through racial slurs, graffiti, and hate paraphernalia left by other employees. He, along with several other black workers, reported the incident to the EEOC. However, after a year of waiting, the agency failed to resolve the issue.
The Center for Public Integrity – a nonprofit investigative news agency based in Washington, DC – spent eight years compiling and analyzing complaints filed with the EEOC and other state and local agencies from 2010-2017. After reviewing hundreds of legal cases and receiving testimonies from people who filed complaints, the Center for Public Integrity found that the EEOC closes most cases without first determining if discrimination occurred. Additionally, nearly 40 percent of employees who reported discrimination to the EEOC experienced retaliation.
Former EEOC employees and other experts cite a limited budget, limited resources, and a 42 percent reduction in staff since 1980 as primary factors regarding the agency’s poor handling of discrimination cases. In addition, the labor force has increased by 50 percent – resulting in more discrimination cases.
What you can do if you’ve experienced discrimination
While agencies such as the EEOC may lack the resources and ability to pursue each case of racial discrimination, you have other options. The experienced and dedicated legal team at Nilges Draher LLC has extensive experience handling cases like yours. We’ll take the time to review all details regarding your complaint and launch a thorough investigation.
We’re committed to putting your needs first. Contact us today to discuss your matter and explore your legal options.