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Racial Discrimination in the Massachusetts Workplace

Racism is still a problem in this country. In some situations, it’s blatantly obvious; more often, however, racism is subtle and harder to identify. This is especially true of racial discrimination in the workplace. For example, an employer may fail to hire an individual based on his race, but claim the decision was based on another factor, such as attitude or lack of experience. A MA employment attorney can help if you believe you’ve been a victim of racial discrimination.

What is Discriminatory Intent?

Whether racial discrimination in the workplace is obvious or subtle, there are multiple federal and state laws prohibiting this type of discrimination in any form. In many cases, identifying – and proving – racial discrimination can be difficult. But sometimes, an employer inadvertently displays discriminatory intent.

But what exactly constitutes discriminatory intent? The following example provides a good illustration: During the application process, a potential employer is not supposed to inquire about the applicant’s race. If the employer asks, and then doesn’t hire the applicant, this could serve as evidence of racial discrimination. If an employee with less qualifications is hired instead, this can provide further evidence of racial discrimination.

In some cases, employers unknowingly engage in racial discrimination. For example, certain hiring practices and employment policies have an imbalanced impact on certain races, religions, and lifestyles. If the practice or policy unfairly singles out a certain race with no valid business purpose, it could be considered a form of racial discrimination.

Civil Rights Act of 1964

There are federal laws in place to protect people from racial discrimination. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are prohibited from:

  • Refusing to hire an employee based on race
  • Firing an employee based on race
  • Disciplining an employee based on race
  • Paying less to an employee based on race
  • Failing to provide equal benefits to an employee based on race
  • Failing to provide opportunities (benefits, promotions) to employees based on race
  • Segregating employees or applicants based on race

Federal law makes certain forms of discrimination illegal in all 50 states. These include:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Gender
  • Pregnancy and childbirth (and medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth)
  • Age (if 40 or over)
  • Disability
  • Status of citizenship
  • Genetic information

In addition to the above categories, Massachusetts state law prohibits discrimination based on:

  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Military service
  • Arrest record

MA’s anti-discrimination laws apply to employers in MA with six or more employees. Federal laws apply to companies with 15 or more employees. Certain other anti-discrimination laws, such as those related to age discrimination, apply to companies with four or more employees. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against in the workplace, a skilled Boston employment lawyer can help you determine how to proceed.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Employment Law Firm

If you have been harmed by racial discrimination in the workplace, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of MA workers for more than 50 years. Cases involving racial discrimination are complex, and often highly sensitive. Our compassionate, knowledgeable attorneys will evaluate the unique details of your case to determine the best legal strategy. Discrimination, especially when it involves race, can be subtle and difficult to prove. But at Altman & Altman, LLP, we know how to identify discriminatory intent and use that evidence to prove that you have been a victim of this type of discrimination. If you have been fired from a job, disciplined, or feel that you were passed by for a potential job – based solely on your race – you may have a successful legal claim against the employer. Don’t go through this difficult time alone. We can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

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