Racial Discrimination & Harassment

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals against employment discrimination on the basis of race and color as well as national origin, sex, or religion.

It is unlawful to discriminate against any employee or job applicant because of his race, color, national origin, sex, or religion. These factors may not be considered in regard to hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment. Employment cannot be denied based upon marriage to or association with an individual of a different race; membership in or association with ethnic based organizations or groups; or attendance or participation in schools or places of worship generally associated with certain minority groups.

Employment decisions may not be based upon stereotypes or assumptions about abilities, traits, or the performance of individuals of certain racial groups. Intentional discrimination and neutral job policies that disproportionately exclude minorities are also prohibited.

Discrimination on the basis of a condition which predominantly affects one race is illegal unless the practice is job related and consistent with a business necessity. For example, since sickle cell anemia predominantly occurs in African-Americans, a policy which excludes individuals with sickle cell anemia must be job related and consistent with a business necessity.

Harassment founded on a person's race and/or color is prohibited. Ethnic slurs, racial "jokes," offensive or derogatory comments, and other verbal or physical conduct based on an individual's race and/or color constitute unlawful harassment if the conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment, or interferes with the individual's work performance.

Segregation and Classification of Employees

Title VII is violated where minority employees are segregated by physically isolating them from other employees or from customer contact. Title VII also prohibits assigning primarily minorities to predominantly minority establishments or geographic areas. It is also illegal to exclude minorities from certain positions or to group or categorize employees or jobs so that certain jobs are generally held by minorities. Coding applications/resumes to designate an applicant's race, by either an employer or employment agency, constitutes evidence of discrimination where minorities are excluded from employment or from certain positions.

Pre-Employment Inquiries

Requesting pre-employment information which discloses or tends to disclose an applicant's race suggests that race will be unlawfully used as a basis for hiring. Solicitation of such pre-employment information is presumed to be used as a basis for making selection decisions. Therefore, if members of minority groups are excluded from employment, the request for such pre-employment information would likely constitute evidence of discrimination.