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Racial Discrimination at Work

4 Signs of Racial Discrimination at Work

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Everyone deserves a fair chance to succeed at work. But if an employee or job candidate is being racially discriminated against, they don’t have a fair chance to do so.

The harasser doesn’t necessarily have to be a supervisor, manager, or someone in charge. In some situations, co-workers have racially discriminated against fellow co-workers. Regardless of the harasser, race discrimination is illegal and should not be tolerated.

At work, some acts of racial discrimination are easy to identify. But at other times, the actions are more subtle. Below are some signs and examples of racial discrimination in the workplace:


Racial Harassment

Under California state law, it’s illegal to harass or discriminate a person at work because of race or color.

Racial harassment can take many forms. Some examples include verbal conduct such as rumors about your personal life, jokes, slurs, name-calling, or innuendos. Nonverbal conduct can include actions such as facial expressions of a racial nature or derogatory gestures. Physical conduct such as blocking your movement or inappropriate touching can also be various forms of harassment.

Additionally, visual displays such as e-mails, drawings, pictures, or posters of a racial nature can also be considered forms of racial harassment.



Stereotyping refers to an over-generalized belief of a particular group of people. In some cases, employers can discriminate against you even before you work for a company.

For example, if a job candidate with a master’s degree in accounting applied for an accountant position with a company. Instead of considering the candidate for the accountant position, a human resource representative of the company encourages the candidate to apply for an assembly line position in the warehouse instead. In this case, the candidate may have been racially discriminated against if the reason for the encouragement to apply for a different position was based on race.


Open Hostility

Open hostility can sometimes be subtle and not as direct as racial slurs. If someone mocks the way you speak, makes fun of your accent, or mocks the cultural food you consume, they may be racially discriminating against you. In some cases, seemingly harmless microaggressions can leave victims with life-long psychological trauma.


Overly Critical Managers

Constructive feedback can be helpful for employees who are looking to improve their quality of work.  However, it’s important to note that any criticism should be applied equally among all employees.

For example, a manager is overly critical of a certain employee who is of a different race than other employees on the team. While mistakes happen, the feedback this employee may receive is more severe compared to other employees that make the same mistake.

If your manager criticizes you more severely than your co-workers because you’re of a different race, this may be a sign of racial discrimination.


Contact a Race Discrimination Lawyer Today

Racial discrimination can happen to anyone. If you believe you’ve been racially discriminated against at work, you have the right to file a legal claim against the parties at fault. Our Los Angeles racial discrimination lawyers have over two decades of experience fighting for employee rights and we can help you get the justice you deserve. Contact us today to speak with an attorney about your potential case.

About the Author
Picture of Rodney Mesriani
Rodney Mesriani

Rodney Mesriani is the principal partner of the Los Angeles and Santa Monica based Mesriani Law Group. He specializes in personal injury and employment law while also being an accomplished litigator and trial attorney. Rodney is an aggressive negotiator and a well-known and respected attorney in the areas of practice he specializes in.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from California State University Northridge before attending Southwestern School of Law where he received his Juris Doctorate. While being an accomplished personal injury and employment lawyer, Rodney Mesriani has made it a point to attend numerous State Sponsored MCLE events and seminars over the years as a law practitioner to be informed of the latest laws and litigation strategies.



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