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The EEOC and Workplace Discrimination Based on Race and Color

February 29, 2012

In a previous Santa Ana employment discrimination lawyers blog, Vincent Howard discussed the topic of discrimination in the workplace based on race, and the federal and state laws in place that prohibit employers from engaging in this kind of illegal employment activity.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are prohibited from discriminating against individuals in the workplace on the basis of color, race, national origin, gender or religion. As Vincent Howard frequently reports, Title VII states that it is against the law to discriminate against a worker, employee, or a person applying for a job, in regard to any conditions, terms, or privileges of employment, including hiring, job advancement, firing, and employment training.

Under Title VII, workplace decisions that are based on any stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, performance or traits of individuals or of certain racial groups are also prohibited. And the act also prohibits any intentional discrimination as well as any neutral employment policies that unfairly exclude minorities and are not related to the specific job. Discrimination based on immutable racial characteristics, such as the color of skin, hair texture, or specific facial features, is also against the law, even though not all members of a certain race share the exact same characteristics.

The act also prohibits employment discrimination that is based on certain conditions, which predominately affect one race-- like sickle cell anemia, occurring predominately in African-Americans--unless the practice relates to the job and is consistent to the necessity of the business.

Title VII prohibits color and race discrimination against all persons, including Caucasians. According to the EEOC, although there is overlap between race and color, they are not the same. Discrimination based on color can happen between individuals of different ethnicities or races, but also happens between individuals of the same ethnicity or race. Although "color" is not clearly defined by Title VII, the EEOC and courts determine that "color" refers to the complexion, pigmentation, or skin tone or shade of a person. Therefore, color discrimination happens when an individual experiences discrimination based on their color characteristics, in regard to lightness or darkness.

The EEOC also states that equal employment opportunities cannot be denied to a person because of association with an individual, such as marriage, membership or association with groups or organizations that are ethnic-based, attendance or participation in places of worship or schools that are associated with specific minority groups, or any other cultural characteristics or practices that are frequently associated to ethnicity or race, like manner of speech or cultural attire--as long as the characteristics or practices do not materially interfere with the individual's ability to perform their specific employment duties.

In cities throughout Orange County, California, contact Vincent Howard today, so we can help you with your discrimination, harassment or retaliation issue in the workplace. Call Howard Law, PC at 1-800-872-5925, for a free consultation about your employment rights.

Facts About Race/Color Discrimination, EEOC

Related Web Resources:

Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH): The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC: Laws Enforced by EEOC

Related Blog Posts:

Matrix to Pay $450K in EEOC Race Discrimination, Retaliation Lawsuit Settlement, California Employment Lawyers Blog, February 28, 2012

M. Slavin & Sons Fish Seller To Pay $900K in EEOC Sexual and Racial Discrimination Lawsuit, California Employment Lawyers Blog, February 9, 2012

Employee Sues John Elway's Los Angeles Car Dealership in Class Action Racial Discrimination Lawsuit, California Employment Lawyers Blog, January 11, 2012

Religious Discrimination in the Workplace and Reasonable Accommodation, California Employment Lawyers Blog, August 18, 2011

Ralphs' Employee Sues for Racial Discrimination, Harassment and Wrongful Termination, California Employment Lawyers Blog, October 18, 2010

EEOC Sues Chapman University for Racial Discrimination, California Employment Lawyers Blog, September 29, 2010

Racial Announcement in Walmart Store Tells Black People to Leave, California Employment Lawyers Blog, March 19, 2010

Amusement Party Company Sued for Racially Hostile Work Environment, California Employment Lawyers Blog, February 26, 2010

California Court Overturns Female Firefighter's Racial, Gender Discrimination Case, California Employment Lawyers Blog, February 18, 2010

California Hotel Pays $500,000 in Racial Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Settlements, California Employment Lawyers Blog, February 4, 2010

Fish Seller M. Slavin & Sons Sued for Male-On-Male Sexual and Racial Harassment, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 9, 2009