Racial Discrimination is any action or attitude, conscious or unconscious, which subordinates an individual based on race. According to the United States Civil Rights Commission, it can occur on an individual or institutional level. Unfortunately, in 2007, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 30,510 charges of discrimination based on race. Of those charges, 25,882 were resolved, culminating in $67.7 million in monetary benefits.
In cases of institutional racism, governments, corporations, educational institutions, and other large organizations systematically discriminate against individuals or groups of people because of supposed taxonomic differences. These differences are thought to be indicative of varying levels of intelligence, morality, and sexuality. On a microcosmic level of institutions, racial discrimination also occurs in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects against employment discrimination based on race and color, as well as a number of other qualifiers. Specifically, the law applies to employers with more than 15 employees, including state and local governments. The law prohibits denial of equal opportunities to people based on his or her perceived race, race-linked characteristics, or marriage to or association with someone of a particular group. The law also forbids discrimination based on stereotypes, assumed abilities, and traits. All races are protected equally under Title VII.
Specific employment situations discussed by the Civil Rights Act include recruiting, advancement, work environment, classification of employees, and retaliation. In recruiting and advancement, all job requirements must be applied consistently. Employers may inquire about racial information for affirmative action compliance, but this information should be kept separate from an employee’s application or the use of this information could be considered a basis of discrimination in hiring decisions. Once hired, racial and ethnic slurs, derogatory comments, and physical conduct based on an individual’s race are prohibited. The actions or speech must be offensive, unwanted, severe, and pervasive to be considered discrimination.
Title VII of the Act also protects employees from being segregated or classified based on their racial groups. Workers may not be systematically hidden from customer contact or forced to work in a department or area because of perceived race or color. For example, an African American employee may not be forced to work in a predominately African American area simply because of common race. In addition, retaliation for speaking with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about discrimination charges is strictly forbidden.