If you were discriminated against or retaliated against at work, do not hesitate to learn more about your rights and options. Although Missouri has come a long way, racial harassment abounds in St. Louis workplaces today.
Whether you work at Express Scripts, Edward Jones Investments, Graybar Electric, Pfizer, MasterCard, Wells Fargo, Mayflower Transit, Post Foods, Washington University, Barnes Jewish Hospital, or somewhere else, you’ve likely observed or experienced it to some degree. Every day workers are verbally or otherwise harassed due to their race. Some aren’t even hired or don’t get promotions or raises based on their race.
If you or someone you love is the victim of racial harassment in the workplace, our St. Louis racial harassment lawyers want to hear about it. You could deserve compensation for the wrongdoing you have suffered. The best way to find out is to CONTACT our office for a free case evaluation with an experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Lawyer Today
What is Racial Harassment and Discrimination?
Federal and Missouri state laws protect employees and prospective employees from racial employment discrimination based on their race or color. It’s crucial to note that race and color aren’t the same. Color is the pigmentation or degree of darkness of the skin. As such, discrimination and harassment can even occur between two individuals of the same race.
As per the Missouri Human Rights Act, it’s illegal to refuse to hire or let employees go because they are of a particular color or race. In addition, employers may not limit, segregate or classify employees because of their race or color.
It’s illegal for employers to do any of the following arising from race or color unless there is either a genuine established seniority or merit system in place:
- Compensate employees differently
- Apply different terms or conditions of employment
- Grant preferential treatment
If you could you have been discriminated against while at work, you may need a St. Louis racial discrimination attorney. Any current or potential employee can face racial discrimination or harassment. Furthermore, they may face poor treatment simply because they happen to be married to or spend a lot of time with someone of a different race.
Racial discrimination laws state that an employer can’t take adverse action against an employee based on the employee’s race. Adverse actions are actions that affect the terms and conditions of employment.
They can include:
- Hiring a qualified candidate
Employers who make decisions that are racially motivated that impact any of the above based upon might have violated the law. Suppose you think an employer has discriminated against or otherwise harassed you because of your race or skin color. In that case, it’s time to reach out to a St. Louis race discrimination lawyer for help. The sooner you contact a skilled attorney, the sooner they can go to work protecting your rights and working for the best outcome possible.
When it comes to race discrimination, there are two types of cases:
- Disparate treatment/hostile work environment cases: Involve an employee being the subject of intentional discrimination due to their race.
- Disparate impact cases: Involve an employee who feels discriminated against because of the employer’s policies that somehow negatively affect them because of race.
Examples of Racial Workplace Harassment and Discrimination
Racial workplace harassment and discrimination can take on many different forms. Sometimes it’s very subtle and challenging to identify. Other times, it’s made quite obvious.
Here are a few common examples of racial discrimination or harassment in the workplace:
- Sela, an individual of Asian ethnicity, applies to work as a receptionist at a dentist’s office in a predominantly white area. She meets or exceeds all of the job requirements and more. However, after her interview, the employer tells Sela that she “wouldn’t fit in here.” They hire a Caucasian person with similar skills and experience instead. In this case, a person from a different racial group was treated more favorably in similar circumstances.
- Aabid is a Muslim working as an accountant for a supermarket chain store. His direct supervisor frequently comments on his appearance and questions him about his Islamic customs. As weeks go by, Aabid feels that his workplace is intimidating. Racial harassment isn’t limited to blatantly insulting remarks or conduct. It can include any unwanted behavior related to an employee’s race, especially when it creates an offensive environment or violates their dignity.
- Gary, a Caucasian British man, does exceedingly well at an interview for a sales rep position. A few days later, he runs into the interviewer at the mall while out with his wife, who is of African descent. The interviewer makes it clear that Gary won’t be hired because of his wife’s color. An employee or potential employee doesn’t need to be from a minority group themselves to face racial discrimination. If an employer treats them unfairly, whether because they associate with individuals of another race or because they are alleged to be of another race, it’s still racial discrimination.
Next Steps for Racial Harassment and Discrimination Victims
Suppose your lawyer determines that you have a valid case. In that case, the next step involves submitting a claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Although necessary and required, this step can be pretty daunting. First, you will need to gather all the necessary information pertinent to your complaints, such as the people involved and the specific details of the events that took place.
You or your attorney can file:
The EEOC will contact you if it needs further information.
What is a Hostile Work Environment?
Hiring practices, intentional discrimination, and the like aren’t the only ways employers can discriminate against employees or employment candidates. Harassment is also a significant problem when it comes to racial discrimination. A racially biased hostile work environment that manifests in racist comments can also give rise to a valid racial discrimination case in St. Louis.
In a hostile work environment, an employee feels harassed, intimidated, or oppressed, and their ability to work diminished.
Examples of behavior that may create a hostile work environment include:
- Lewd comments from a coworker
- Humiliation or mistreatment by a coworker
- Offensive conduct by a manager
If the employer is made aware of the hostile work environment and fails to correct the situation, the employer can be held responsible.
The injury lawyers at The Dixon Injury Firm are always working to ensure you have answers to all your legal questions. We want our clients to be well informed to make the best choices in their cases. Here are some of the most common questions we get regarding racial harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
I’ve Asked My Coworker to Stop Telling Racially Based Jokes Near Me, but They Tell Me No and that I Need to Loosen Up—Is this Racial Harassment?
It likely depends on how explicit the jokes are or how frequent the jokes are told. Even if the employee’s conduct isn’t technically illegal, your office could still take disciplinary action. In some cases, employees have been fired for titling an email with racial slurs, for example.
If you express to your co-worker that you find it offensive, and the situation continues, you may want to discuss it with a coworker, supervisor, or human resources manager to determine whether other employees are also offended by the jokes or if your company has a policy that is violated by this behavior. Sometimes a solution can be reached that doesn’t involve filing a formal complaint or lawsuit.
Who Enforces the Discrimination Laws in the Workplace?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal government agency responsible for overseeing complaints related to race discrimination in workplaces of 15 or more employees. Most states have agencies that enforce state laws against discrimination, as does Missouri.
The Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR) governs the state’s laws. You can file a discrimination claim with either agency as they have a work-sharing agreement to cooperate to process claims.
What Are the Deadlines for Filing a Racial Harassment or Discrimination Claim?
Contact the MCHR or EEOC without delay to file a claim. Strict time limits apply for employment discrimination. If you miss these deadlines, you lose your legal recourse.
Under Missouri state laws, you must file with the MCHR (or the EEOC) within 180 days of the date you believe you were discriminated against. Federal law requires that you file with the EEOC (or cross-file with MCHR) within 300 days of the date you think you were discriminated against.
However, you might have the right to pursue additional legal claims with shorter deadlines. So don’t wait to file your claim until your time has almost run out if you want to explore them.
Do You Need an Attorney to File a Claim?
You aren’t required to have an attorney to file your claim with the state or federal administrative agencies. However, just because it’s not required doesn’t mean it’s not extremely helpful. For example, a seasoned St. Louis racial harassment lawyer from our firm can help in many ways.
They can draft a letter to your employer as a formal workplace complaint and ensure that your claims are filed within the deadline and that they are detailed thoroughly with all necessary paperwork complete. In addition, they are familiar with the federal and state laws and protocols and know when it’s time to file a lawsuit.
Can You File a Lawsuit Instead of a Complaint with the EEOC or MCHR?
While it can be frustrating and time-consuming to file with a federal or state government agency, in most cases, the law requires you to do so first before filing a lawsuit.
All of the laws enforced by the EEOC (except for the Equal Pay Act) require employees to file a Charge of Discrimination before they can file a job discrimination lawsuit against their employer. It’s also essential to note that an individual, organization, or agency is permitted to file a charge on behalf of another individual to protect the aggrieved person’s identity.
You can check with your St. Louis racial harassment attorney about any specifics that might apply in your case. If you couldn’t resolve your complaint through the government, you may pursue litigation. However, the deadlines and requirements of such a lawsuit can quickly become complicated and might even feel overwhelming. It’s crucial to have a skilled St. Louis racial harassment lawyer on your side representing your case during this time.
Can Your Employer Punish You for Filing a Complaint?
If you file a workplace discrimination claim with the EEOC or MCHR, then you are protected from workplace retaliation. Workplace retaliation includes any acts of employment discrimination or wrongful termination arising from the workplace discrimination claim.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Racial Harassment Lawyer for Help Today
Both Missouri and federal laws protect all employees from racial harassment, verbal or physical abuse at work, and other actions that can create a hostile work environment.
At the Dixon Injury Firm, our attorneys are familiar with all the laws that protect workers and can explain what legal options are available in your case. You don’t have to put up with racially offensive language, behavior, or discrimination at work.
We can take steps to end that behavior, hold your employer accountable, and fight for compensation on your behalf. Our St. Louis racial harassment attorneys are prepared to stand by your side in negotiations or at trial if that’s what it takes to protect your employee rights.
Contact the Dixon Injury Firm at (314) 208-2808 or online to schedule your free, confidential case consultation today. When you work with our firm, you will receive an unparalleled level of commitment to your needs and best interests. We are open and honest with you about your case and your options from your very first interaction with us.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132