Racial discrimination and ethnicity discrimination are both illegal forms of employment discrimination under Title VII and Texas law. Race or racial discrimination relates to a person's physical appearance, such as skin color. Ethnicity discrimination relates to a person's ancestry or culture. Perpetrators of discrimination rarely see a difference between the two but the discrimination you experience in the workplace may be one or the other or both. How race and ethnicity discrimination occurs in the workplace Racial discrimination and ethnicity discrimination is prohibited in any part of the employment relationship, from hiring practices through termination of employment. Race and ethnicity discrimination is prohibited when it has a negative effect on obtaining or keeping a job as well as the terms and conditions of employment. Common ways discrimination can occur: Job advertisements Recruiting Application processes and applicant screening Interviews Pre-employment inquires Job referrals Job assignments and promotions Compensation (both pay and benefits) Merit reviews, performance evaluation and raises Disciplinary practices Terminations, layoffs and reductions in force (RIF) Harassment Racial discrimination and ethnic discrimination can occur at any time before or during employment. This form of discrimination may start during the hiring process or an employee may go years before ending up down the food chain from a racist supervisor. Discrimination can also occur through workplace harassment. Harassment occurs when the workplace becomes hostile through the acts of coworkers or management. Harassment can occur through words, pictures, emails, job assignments, threats and even physical contact. Harassment becomes actionable as discrimination when it begins to negatively affect your job. It is always actionable when management is perpetrating the harassment. If it is your co-workers, it becomes actionable when management has a reasonable opportunity to stop the harassment but fails to do so. Your employer may also retaliate against you for bringing claims of racial discrimination or ethnicity discrimination to the attention of management, HR, or a government agency. This retaliation is illegal and creates an independent claim against your employer. Your right to work free from racial discrimination includes the right to report illegal discrimination and take steps to protect your rights. Remedies for race and ethnicity discrimination The law provides remedies to make a victim of racial and ethnicity discrimination whole. These remedies can range from requiring the employer to hire/reinstate/promote/etc. to paying for economic losses, such as lost wages while you try to find a new job. The specific remedies pursued on a race and ethnicity discrimination claim depend upon the what negative effects you suffered and what is best for you. If the company was very hostile towards you then it may not make sense to ask the court to reinstate you to your job and instead ask for the company to pay your lost wages. The job you lost may be particularly important to you so reinstatement may be the appropriate remedy. Determining the right course of action is something we will discuss together when you hire The Kielich Law Firm to represent your racial discrimination or ethnicity discrimination claim. How race and ethnicity discrimination claims are handled Race and ethnicity discrimination claims follow the same process as other employment discrimination claims, which is a complex process. Race and ethnicity discrimination claims begin with a charge filed with the federal (EEOC) and state (TWC) discrimination agencies who will investigate your claims of discrimination. The charge must be filed within a limited period of time after the discrimination occurred to preserve your claims. During the investigation there may be mediation between you and your employer. If there is a finding of discrimination one of the government agencies may decide to file suit against your employer and we will work jointly to represent your claims. If neither government agency decides it has enough information to find discrimination occurred then we will pursue litigation on our own. From there, the case may settle or go to trial. All employment discrimination claims are challenging claims for many reasons. The employer controls most of the information that might directly prove discrimination. Often, there is no direct evidence (no smoking gun) of discrimination so the case must be proven by indirect or circumstantial evidence.
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