Race Discrimination

Race discrimination remains a serious issue in the workplace. Employees are protected from race discrimination by state and federal law. Indeed, several major cities such as Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio have a municipal codes which also protect employees from race discrimination within their city limits.

If you believe you have been subjected to race discrimination by your employer, it is important to contact a Texas employment lawyer sooner rather than later. There are strict timelines filing complaints with the appropriate agencies. For private employers the deadlines may be 180 for 300 days to file your complaint. For federal employees, your deadline is even shorter to file a complaint with the EEO. This deadline is 45 days.

What laws protect against race discrimination in the work place?

There are several laws which protect employees from basis discrimination in the work place.

A. The Texas Labor Code

Unlike the Texas constitution, the Texas labor code protects employees working for government and private employees. Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code contains a broad prohibition of discriminatory practices in the workplace against people based on race. The Texas workforce Commission, Civil Rights Division oversees the investigation of race discrimination claims in the workplace.

B. Title VII of the Civil Rights act of 1964

In 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act which gave employees protection from discriminatory employment practices based on many characteristics, including Grace. Claims of race discrimination must be filed with the EEOC which then investigate the complaints as a part of the administrative remedy.

C. The Civil Rights Act of 1866

The civil rights act of 1866 was a statute passed by Congress in the reconstruction era of the United States. For many years, the statute was unenforced especially in the post-Civil War, pre-civil rights era south. Claims brought under the reconstruction era statute are often referred to as section 1981 claims. Unlike claims made under the civil rights act of 1964, claims brought under this law do not have a statutory limit for punitive / emotional damages. Additionally, the statute of limitations for a 1981 claim is longer, and there is no investigation by the EEOC or TWC required in order to file one’s lawsuit.

D. The Texas Constitution - Equal rights amendment

The Texas constitution protects state workers from discrimination in the workplace. Importantly, the state constitutional protections for employees only extends to employees working for the state of Texas or a governmental entity. The Texas constitution does not protect employees who work for a private employers. However, there are provisions within city codes that prevent contractors to do work for cities from discriminating against employees based on race.

E. Executive Order 11246

This executive order prohibits federal contractors, subcontractors, and employers with federal service or supply contracts from discriminating against employees based on race. Though many of these employees would be protected by other employment laws, both state and federal, this executive order requires that federal contractors take affirmative steps to ensure that discrimination is not occurring. If a federal contractor is found to be engaging and discrimination, the office of federal contract compliance programs may even resend the employers contract.

What are examples of race discrimination?

Often, employers will not disclose the motivations behind decisions in the workplace. This is exceptionally true for employers who engage in discrimination. Because of this, discrimination is not always what meets the eye.

Some obvious examples of race discrimination include:

  • The use of racial epithets in the workplace;
  • The placement of nooses or other items traditionally associated with racism in the work place;
  • Segregated spaces in the workplace; and
  • Comments pertaining to racial stereotypes.
Some less obvious examples of race discrimination include:
  • Favoritism towards employees of one race over another;
  • Failing to hire applicants of a particular race;
  • Failing to promote employees of a particular race;
  • Instituting policies that unfairly disadvantage employees of a specific race; and
  • Maintaining a "good old boys club" that excludes the advancement and progression of individuals of a different race in the workplace.

My manager is of the same race, can I be discriminated against?

In short, the answer is yes. There exist many motives and ways managers of the same race can discriminate against members of their own race. For example, the manager may agreed to implement a discriminatory policy from upper management that unfairly disadvantages the race to which the manager belongs. The manager may have sentiments of resentment and self loathing. The manager may give preferential treatment to members of his or her own race that have a similar skin tone. This also would be an example of color discrimination that is also protected by Title VII of the Civil rights act of 1964.

Contact me, a Houston race discrimination attorney

As stated above, the time to act on a claim of discrimination is limited. If you believe that you have been subjected to race discrimination in the workplace, contact me, a Texas discrimination lawyer, to set up a consultation.