Please be advised that the EEOC’s 1-800-669-4000 information number is currently undergoing maintenance.  As a result, some callers may be experiencing difficulties connecting to the EEOC when using this toll free number.  We are working to resolve the issues.  In the event any member of the public is experiencing difficulties reaching the EEOC through the 1-800-669-4000 number during this maintenance period, you may contact the EEOC at info@eeoc.gov for assistance.  We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

Breadcrumb

  1. Home
  2. Race/Color Discrimination

Race/Color Discrimination

Race discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because he/she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with race (such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features). Color discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of skin color complexion.

Race/color discrimination also can involve treating someone unfavorably because the person is married to (or associated with) a person of a certain race or color.

Discrimination can occur when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are the same race or color.

Race/Color Discrimination & Work Situations

The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

Race/Color Discrimination & Harassment

It is unlawful to harass a person because of that person's race or color.

Harassment can include, for example, racial slurs, offensive or derogatory remarks about a person's race or color, or the display of racially-offensive symbols. Although the law doesn't prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Race/Color Discrimination & Employment Policies/Practices

An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of race or color, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on the employment of people of a particular race or color and is not job-related and necessary to the operation of the business. For example, a "no-beard" employment policy that applies to all workers without regard to race or national origin may still be unlawful.  If a "no-beard" policy is not related to the job and in effect disproportionately harms employment opportunities based on race or national origin, the policy is unlawful.