Racism in the workplace: Is it still that prominent?

In New York, it is, unfortunately, true that some people still have to deal with racism in the workplace. For example, in July, a man working with the Pepsi Co. decided to sue over alleged hostility and racism from his coworkers. He claims that someone at work used a derogatory term against him and brought two other works onto his federal race discrimination lawsuit.

Racial discrimination is still commonplace, though it is against the law. For example, one study found that job resumes with white-sounding names were twice as likely to get a callback as those with traditionally Black-sounding names. Black workers are also less likely to be hired into a position that is consistent with their education. It has also been found that Black workers earn around 25% less than their white colleagues on average.

Racism is present in some workplaces, so what can you do?

The man mentioned in the story above did what he should have: He reported the racial incident. The person who used discriminatory language toward him was fired from the company, which should have happened. However, after that, the man claimed that he was retaliated against by the company assigning him to a new role that he wasn’t adequately trained for. Management, he claims, was trying to find a reason to fire him, so they allegedly set him up to fail.

In this case, the New York State Division of Human Rights stepped in and did conclude that there was probable cause. This is rare, as the Human Rights Division only has findings in around 20% of claims.

You have the option to pursue a claim if you believe you’ve been discriminated against at work as well. You may wish to reach out to the New York State Division of Human Rights as this individual did and to talk to your human resources department to determine what can be done about harassment and discrimination in your workplace.

If you want to pursue a claim against your employer because they do not take action, then that may be a possibility. You should look into your legal rights and take steps to build your case by collecting and saving all potential evidence.

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