As an employee working in Missouri, you have the right to work in peace and free from racial discrimination. This is true whether you are a citizen or not. Employers must be held accountable for racial discrimination whenever they:
- Refuse to hire or promote an employee because of the employee’s race or color;
- Retaliate against employees for filing claims or complaining about discrimination; or
- Harass an employee or allow racial harassment to occur in the workplace.
Other forms of racial discrimination include not giving raises, excluding the employee, or firing the employee based solely on the color of the employee’s skin or other racial characteristics such as body type or eye shape. If you have been treated unfairly because of your race, your employer needs to be dealt with, even if they themselves were not the perpetrators of the discriminatory acts. Your employer is bound by an obligation to take reasonable measures to prevent race discrimination at work, and must penalize or fire employees who have a pervasive history of acting in racist ways at work.
How Common is Race-Based Discrimination in the U.S. and Missouri?
In 2016 there were over 32,000 race based discrimination charges filed and resolved with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In Missouri, the EEOC filed 808 race-based discrimination charges and 123 color-based discrimination charges against employers in 2016. The year before, there were 107 fewer racial charges filed and 47 fewer color-based discrimination charges. None of the above numbers include charges filed at the state level, showing just how prevalent racial discrimination is in the workplace. In 2017 there were 432 race-based discrimination charges filed with the Missouri Human Rights Act. And, most workplace discrimination goes entirely unreported.
Is My Workplace Considered Hostile?
You may have experienced some off hand racial jokes or picked up on an unfriendly vibe or two, but if it has not negatively impacted your ability to perform your job, your work environment may not be considered hostile. On the other hand, if you have suffered emotional, psychological, or physical harm because of the discrimination, and your work has suffered as a consequence, you most definitely have experienced racial harassment on a level that makes your work environment hostile, and you have a good chance of winning a lawsuit against your employer. Common evidence of a hostile work environment includes the following when directed at employees because of their race:
- Racial jokes and slurs;
- Comments about an employee’s skin color or other physical characteristics;
- Stereotypes and negative comments about a particular race in general that may or may not have been directed at the employee;
- Wage discrepancies;
- Lack of promoting non-whites;
- Intimidation and exclusion;
- Emailing or passing around of racist propaganda or pro racist media stories; and
- Other actions that are designed to make an employee feel unwelcome.
Our St. Louis Employment Attorneys can Help You Seek Justice
The St. Louis hostile workplace lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP are here to help you seek justice against your employer for the workplace discrimination to which you have been subjected. We urge you to give us a call today to schedule a free consultation.