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I'm a victim of race discrimination: What are my options?

Workplace race discrimination in Rhode Island can surface in several ways, some more obvious than others. In any instance of discrimination on the basis of race, however, you can easily experience frustration and feel violated, in addition to losing out on potentially well-deserved employment opportunities. Fortunately, you can seek justice due to mistreatment at work because of your race.

What does race discrimination look like?

An example of racial discrimination is if an employer asks questions about a job applicant's race during the interviewing process. The applicant's race may have factored into the employer's hiring decision if this occurs.

However, discrimination is usually much more subtle, with an individual never really knowing why they did not get the job. If you try to ask an employer outright about possible discrimination, the company may provide any viable excuse that is not race based. Still, you might be able to present hiring trends as discrimination evidence. In addition, the promotion or hiring of a less-qualified professional versus an applicant or employee of a different race may indicate illegal discrimination.

What does the law say?

The main federal laws addressing race-based discrimination are part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964's Title VII. Title VII particularly makes it illegal for employers to refuse to hire employees of a certain race. Companies also cannot discipline or fire employees simply because of their race.

Other illegal actions under Title VII are paying workers less, giving them fewer benefits, or not giving them opportunities or promotions for racial reasons. The law prohibits segregating or classifying job applicants or employees according to race. Labor unions also cannot exclude certain employees from being members or decide to expel them based on their race/ethnicity.

What should I do?

If you have suffered racial discrimination, your natural inclination may be to keep quiet if you fear losing your job or missing out on a chance to get a job. However, racial discrimination is illegal, so you have the right to seek to hold the alleged perpetrator of the discrimination accountable through the civil court system.

A knowledgeable attorney in the state of Rhode Island can explain to you what to prove in order for you to prevail in a case involving discrimination on the basis of race. Remedies from a successfully fought case may include the reinstatement of a job or monetary relief, depending on your particular case.

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