Charleston, WV Racial Discrimination Attorney

Although most business owners, managers, and hiring agencies in Charleston are well-meaning, unbiased people, a minority of these professionals have misgivings about anyone who is different. Perhaps they cling to unfounded stereotypes, had poor experiences with someone of another color, or grew up in a home that was distrustful of minorities. But none of these reasons serve as an adequate excuse when it spills over into the workplace and becomes racial discrimination.

If you’ve been the victim of racial discrimination, know that the law is on your side and so are we. As an experienced employment attorney, Charles Love fights for the right of all individuals – regardless of race, color, or ethnic background – to have the same opportunities in life. We’re experienced litigators who are unafraid to go up against large organizations and not too proud to tackle small ones if an injustice has been done. If you’ve been been denied a job, advancement, or continued employment merely because of your skin color or family origin, give us a call today at (304) 344-3683.

What Is Racial Discrimination?

The most obvious form of racial discrimination in the workplace occurs when a qualified person is denied a job simply because of his or her race. For example if a highly-qualified Asian candidate is passed up for a promotion in favor of a less-qualified white candidate, simply because the all-white team prefers to have a caucasian, this would be a blatant case of racial discrimination.

However discrimination can also be more subtle. For example, if non-essential job qualifications are put in place that disproportionately affect one or more races – such as those favoring a certain skin color, eye color, body build, height, or hair type – this can also be a form of discrimination. Discriminating against some health conditions, such as sickle-cell anemia, which is more common in African Americans, can also create a racial bias.

It’s also important to note that discrimination can occur at any stage in the life of a business, from recruiting to retirement packages. Examples of discrimination include:

  • Soliciting applications only from people of a certain race or in places where people are likely to be of a uniform race
  • Requiring more or less education than the job would reasonably necessitate in order to target a specific race
  • Testing applicants for non-essential job skills that favor a particular race
  • Making hiring or firing decisions based on race
  • Making work or team assignments based on race
  • Determining compensation, benefits, or perks based on race
  • Retaliating against anyone who reports racial discrimination in the workplace

Harassment

Sometimes, in an attempt to avoid discrimination charges, a company will grant someone of a different race a position or promotion, but create a hostile environment or turn the other way while others do. Creating this kind of environment through racial slurs, intimidating actions or comments, or derogatory remarks constitutes harassment, and is not only wrong, but also illegal and is another form of discrimination.

Note, however, that harassment does not necessarily occur every time someone’s feelings get hurt or they dislike on-the-job treatment. The definition of harassment is based on what a “reasonable person” would find offensive or hostile.

Discrimination or Job Qualification?

Sometimes discrimination is clear-cut, such as when a minority is repeatedly passed up for a promotion despite being better-qualified than the other applicants. However, other times the distinction is not so clear. If the job honestly requires a certain background or physical characteristics, it is not discriminatory for a business to demand those traits in their employees, even if it unfairly discriminates against a minority.

For example, basing a hiring decision on a person’s criminal record could be a way to discriminate against minorities, since a larger percentage of blacks have a criminal record than do whites. However, some positions require careful consideration of a person’s moral character, such as jobs in education, health care, law, and accounting. In cases such as these, applicants with a record may be automatically disqualified without any discrimination.

Similarly, if a job requires a certain height, weight, educational attainment, or set of skills to perform it safely and effectively, it is not out of bounds to choose an applicant who has the necessary qualifications, even if it disproportionately disqualifies a certain race.

The key in all cases of discrimination is necessity and intent – are all the qualifications necessary or helpful in performing the job? Or do they exist solely for or have the unintended consequence of unnecessarily creating obstacles for a certain race?

You Have Rights. Call An Employment Attorney Today

Discrimination and harassment are serious problems that need a legal remedy, but they can also be complex problems that require an experienced attorney to prove and prosecute. If you feel that you’ve been the target of racial discrimination in the workplace, call us today to discuss your case. We’re standing by, ready to help right the wrong.

You can reach us by phone at (304) 344-5683, by email, or by filling out our online form.

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