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Employment Law

Race Discrimination

Introduction to Race Discrimination


Racial discrimination in the workplace is illegal. This includes discrimination against people of mixed heritage, discrimination because someone is married to a person of a particular ethnic or racial background, and discrimination that may involve issues of gender or religious freedom as well as race. 

Discrimination can take many forms, including refusal to hire, firing, passing over employees for promotion, poor performance reviews, and other “adverse employment actions.” Jokes based on racial groups, stereotyping of individuals based on their ethnic backgrounds, derogatory names, and racial epithets are also common in race discrimination cases. Even superficially positive remarks, such as “Mexicans are hard workers” or “Jews are good at managing money” tend to show discrimination in the workplace. Sometimes the conduct is blatant, and other times it is more subtle.

Anti-Discrimination Laws

Discrimination cases are often based on what is called “disparate treatment,” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Chapter 4112 of the Ohio Revised Code. Disparate treatment simply means that individuals of one racial background are treated differently than others. This can happen on an individual basis, or an entire group may be subject to a “pattern or practice” of this sort of treatment. Occasionally, cases may also be brought based upon employer practices that have a disparate impact on a racial group – that is, the practices appear race-neutral, but disproportionately affect people in one racial group. In other situations, an employee can bring suit because of harassment based on race, or because a hostile work environment exists. Racial discrimination can involve all types of employers and employees, including public entities, blue collar workers, and those with office jobs.

Retaliation is Also Prohibited

Both Ohio and federal law include protections against retaliation. This means that if an employer takes an “adverse employment action” against (i.e., punishes) an employee because the employee complained about discrimination in the workplace (or engaged in another “protected activity”), the employee can file a lawsuit specifically for retaliation. It is common for lawsuits to include claims for both discrimination and retaliation. Read more about retaliation here.

Contact The Durst Law Firm if You Are Subjected to Race Discrimination

We have extensive experience helping people who have been discriminated against, harassed and retaliated against, and we have also represented employers in cases alleging race discrimination. If you have been discriminated against at work, or if your business is facing a lawsuit, EEOC charge, OCRC charge or allegations of discrimination, contact us at (513) 621-4999 or call Alex’s direct line at (513) 621-2500.