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Discrimination & Harassment

Race Discrimination

The law prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants and employees because of their race, ethnicity, color, or national origin.

Our discrimination attorneys are available to speak with you if you believe you have suffered race discrimination.

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Race Discrimination Details

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) prohibit employers from discriminating against an applicant or an employee because of the individual’s race. Under both Title VII and the MHRA, it is illegal to discriminate in all aspects of employment, such as hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits, or other conditions of employment.

It is also illegal to harass a person because of their race. Harassment can include offensive or derogatory comments or jokes about a person’s race if those comments are so frequent or severe that they create a hostile or offensive work environment. Offensive comments can include statements about a person’s physical features, skin color, or derogatory stereotypes.

The law also protects employees from discrimination because of their association with family and friends of a different race. Even unintentional race discrimination may be illegal if it tends to harm persons of one race more than persons of other races. However, an employer may make certain employment decisions based on race if doing so is reasonably necessary for normal business operations.

It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant because of the applicant’s gender. It is also illegal for an employer to recruit new employees in a way that discriminates against them because of their gender. For example, an employer's reliance on word-of-mouth recruitment by its predominantly male workforce may violate the law if that practice results in preventing qualified women from being hired.

Word-of- mouth recruiting in a non-diverse workforce can be a barrier to equal employment opportunity if it does not create applicant pools that reflect the diversity in the qualified labor market. This practice of hiring through word-of-mouth or applicants benefiting from the recommendation of a current employee may have caused qualified women applying to railway jobs to be unfairly denied employment.

Examples of Potential Race Discrimination

Potential forms of race discrimination can include:

  • Being paid less than those outside of your race even though you perform the same work.
  • Persistent derogatory comments tied to an individual’s race.
  • Racial or racially motivated jokes or comments.
  • Your employer fired you or forced you to retire because of your race.
  • Your employer reduced your compensation or benefits, demoted you, or denied you a promotion because of your race.
  • Your employer prefers to hire and promote non-minority employees or provides them benefits not available to employees of your race.
  • A prospective employer hired someone outside of your race even though you were the more qualified candidate.

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