Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

Do you believe that you are being discriminated against at work? Is the discrimination due to your race, or the color of your skin? In 2017, racial discrimination still occurs with shocking frequency. Unfortunately, proving it isn’t always an easy task. The article below provides tips on the different types of racial discrimination and how to substantiate your case. An experienced Boston employment law attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you are being discriminated against at work.

Direct Discrimination

This is the easiest type of discrimination to recognize. When an employer, supervisor or co-worker makes obviously racist remarks with no attempt at hiding their intent, this is direct discrimination. This is the easiest type to prove, but it’s also quite rare. Knowing the consequences, few people will make blatantly racist jokes and comments in the workplace. But it does happen from time to time.

Indirect Discrimination

This type of discrimination is more common. For example, if everyone gets a bonus except Bob, who happens to be black, the employer may claim that it’s because Bob is too new. Is that racial discrimination, or is Bob actually too new for a bonus? The good news is, the answer can usually be discovered with a bit of leg work, including research of employment policies and the company’s past handling of similar situations. A MA employment law attorney can help you uncover the evidence necessary to back up your claim.


Consider the following example of racial harassment: Dave is Asian. Dave is constantly scolded in front of his co-workers for not leaving his workspace clean when he heads home for the day. At first Dave thinks his employer must be a perfectionist, and he begins emptying his trash bin twice a day, wiping dust off his computer screen, and washing out his personal coffee mug every evening. But the scoldings continue. When Dave looks around, he realizes that his cubicle is far cleaner than any other cubicle at his place of employment. Is Dave being harassed because of his race? It’s very possible.

What Discriminatory Practices are Prohibited?

If you experience discrimination related to any of the following aspects of employment, you are protected under Title VII of the ADA, GINA, and the ADEA.

  • Hiring process
  • Terminations and layoffs
  • Compensation
  • Job postings
  • Promotions
  • Transfers
  • Testing
  • Training
  • Retirement plans, benefits, and disability

How to Document and Report Workplace Racial Discrimination

Workplace racial discrimination is against the law. If you believe that you are being discriminated against, there are some important steps you should begin to take immediately. These include:


  • Document, document, document. Make a note of every discriminatory incident, even if you’re not sure that it’s discrimination. Include the names of each person involved, as well as the names of any witnesses.


  • Assuming it’s not the supervisor who’s doing the discriminating, report discrimination to your supervisor.


  • Contact your attorney. An attorney with extensive experience in employment issues such as harassment and discrimination can help you determine if you have a solid case.


Altman & Altman, LLP – Employment Law Attorneys Serving Boston and the Surrounding Areas

If you have been discriminated against at work because of your race, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of MA workers for more than 50 years. Our compassionate, knowledgeable attorneys will analyze the details of your case to determine the most appropriate legal strategy, and we’ll ensure that you understand your rights and options before moving forward. If you’ve been harmed by negligent or unlawful workplace practices, we can help. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we have an impressive track record of obtaining compensation for our clients. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

Contact Information