The United States has a lengthy history of race discrimination, stretching from the savage mistreatment of Native Americans through the centuries of African-American enslavement to the continuing discrimination against people of color in the third decade of the 21st century.
At Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O’Neil, our strong employment discrimination attorneys are determined to do everything in our power to fight racial injustice that, in spite of the numerous laws outlawing all types of discrimination, continues to plague too many of our stores, factories, and offices. If you have suffered racial discrimination where you work, contact our lawyers so we can protect your rights and recover damages.
Defining Race Discrimination in the Workplace According to Geneva & Chicago Law
Race discrimination in the workplace consists of demonstrating preference by restricting or excluding employees based on their racial characteristics rather than on their credentials or level of skill. It can focus on a single individual (e.g. a qualified black employee who is not promoted to an earned executive position) or systemic (when a large corporation clearly has a glass ceiling for Black employees).
It is difficult to understand, not to mention appalling, that — after the resonant words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the presidencies of Barack Obama, Black workers are often paid less, promoted less frequently, harassed, and even threatened at American workplaces simply because of their skin color, their facial features, or the texture of their hair.
What Our Lawyers Do to Combat Race Discrimination
At Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O’Neil, we work with both employees and employers to combat racial discrimination. We not only negotiate and file lawsuits on behalf of employees who suffer racial injustice, but we also work with enlightened employers to establish protocols to prevent racial discrimination from occurring in the first place and to hold those who violate anti-discrimination regulations accountable.
Laws Against Race Discrimination In Chicago Are Already on the Books
If you are feeling angry and/or humiliated by being racially victimized at your workplace, remember that those who discriminate against you are breaking both federal and Illinois state laws. Our team of skilled race discrimination attorneys will fight tirelessly for your right to fair treatment under:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- The Illinois Human Rights Act
- The Civil Rights Act of 1991 strengthens Title VII, amending it to provide for the recovery of compensatory damages
While these laws cover employers who have 15 or more employees, our knowledgeable race discrimination attorneys can, in some cases, still find ways to sue for damages if you work for a very small company.
Evidence of Race Discrimination In Chicago Is All Too Common
We may sue for racial discrimination if your employer took any of the following actions because of your race:
- Failed to hire (or even interview ) you
- Disciplined, demoted, or terminated you
- Paid you less or provided fewer benefits than other, lighter-skinned employees
- Failed to offer you equal training opportunities or more attractive job assignments
- Failed to promote you or provide opportunities for advancement
- Located you in an inferior workspace or segregated those of your race
It should be noted that racial discrimination is legally forbidden in the workplace whether the offender is a supervisor, co-worker, client, or customer. Any offensive behavior should be noted and reported to Human Resources or upper management. If no steps are taken to rectify the situation, it is time to contact our strongly motivated race discrimination attorneys.
How Racial Discrimination Is Disguised
Proving that you have been discriminated against can be tricky since unscrupulous employers often cloak their prejudices in seemingly benign company policies. For example, forbidding particular clothing or hairstyles may target certain races or ethnicities.
If your employer demands “no afros, dreadlocks, braids or beards” this may be intended to exclude Black individuals. Apart from cultural preferences to show pride in one’s heritage, African-American men are much more prone to severe shaving bumps (pseudofolliculitis barbae) and so may only be comfortable wearing beards.
Is there a difference between racial discrimination and racial harassment in Chicago?
According to the law, racial harassment fits under the umbrella of racial discrimination. Both are based on deep-seated prejudice and both are harmful to a healthy workplace.
Harassment consists of racially tinged comments, taunts, inappropriate jokes, insults, displays of offensive posters, cartoons or symbols, and racial slurs. In many cases, victims of racial discrimination are also subjected to harassment. Either type of behavior results in a toxic workplace environment and neither is acceptable under the law.
How We Will Prove Racial Discrimination
In order to present a prima facie case of racial discrimination, we have to prove that:
- You are a member of a protected class, in this case, African-American or otherwise dark-skinned.
- You are qualified for and able to do, the job you are applying for, hold, or perform
- You were not hired, denied benefits or promotions, demoted, or terminated due to racial discrimination.
- The person who was hired or received benefits instead of you was of a different race, or the company continued to search for other applicants in spite of your clear qualifications for the job.
Compiling Evidence: Help Us to Help You Fight Racial Discrimination
We advise our clients to begin amassing evidence at the first sign of racial discrimination, including relevant:
- Offensive texts, chats, emails, memos, or other written material
- Discriminatory pictures, cartoons, videos, recordings
- Written or photographed racial slurs or vile symbols (nooses, burning crosses)
- Witness accounts of any of the above
- Witness reports of being victimized similarly for racially discriminatory reasons
- Proof that a person has been chosen for hire, promotion, or retention by your firm not because the individual had better credentials or was more industrious, but simply because his/her skin was a lighter shade
Because retaliation is often used to deter those who would complain of racial discrimination, it is also important to retain any evidence that you have been blamed for complaining of such injustice or threatened with punishment or termination for speaking up.
Contact Our Capable Race Discrimination Attorneys Today!
Our law team is committed to ridding workplaces in Chicago and throughout Illinois of the racist practices that threaten our economy and our humanity.
If you are an employee who is being discriminated against because of your heritage or the color of your skin, Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O’Neil are ready to offer you the powerful legal representation you deserve. On the other hand, if you are an employer who is being falsely accused of racist practices or who is trying hard to be proactive in making your company color-blind, our legal team is here to assist. Contact our office for a consultation.