According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, race or color discrimination occurs when an employer treats another employee or applicant unfavorably or differently than other employees and applicants based on their race. This can also include unfavorable actions based upon a person’s perceived characteristics, such as hair texture, facial features and skin color. Although there has been an incredible improvement in race discrimination in the past few decades, current complaint levels indicate that race discrimination is still a major issue for many workers around the nation.
Over 31,000 complaints for race discrimination were filed with the EEOC in 2014 alone. That figure does not include complaints made to local and state agencies for the same issue. For all of these claims combined, victims of discrimination received around $74.9 million dollars that year. While the numbers are slightly less than seen in 2013, the problem has seen an overall trend upwards in the past decade. This could be due to a number of issues, including more accessibility for victims to file complaints and an increase in the number of violations each year.
The EEOC states that it is strictly forbidden for employers to allow the race of an individual to dictate their actions on hiring, firing, promotions, assignments, pay, training opportunities, benefits and any other aspect of employment. Additionally, even if an employment policy applies to a company as a whole, if its design negatively impacts only one people of a particular race or color, and it is not necessary to properly and efficiently operate a business, then it may be illegal.