Is racial discrimination in the workplace a thing of the past? Unfortunately, not. Despite federal law prohibiting racial discrimination in the workplace, allegations of such actions continue to exist.
A Black woman employed with online retail giant Amazon since 2017 has filed a lawsuit against the company alleging racial discrimination. Specifically, she alleges that Amazon intentionally does not give people of color promotion and pays them less than their White counterparts.
According to the lawsuit, the woman interviewed for a senior manager position at Amazon, and she was offered a job that was one pay grade lower than the position she initially interviewed for, even though she was qualified for the higher-paying job. After accepting the lower-paying position, she was then asked to perform the duties of a senior manager without the higher pay. The lawsuit alleges Amazon violated anti-discrimination and equal pay laws.
Unfortunately, acts of racial discrimination such as the one alleged here, are not unusual. Federal law protects workers against racial discrimination. Under federal law, racial discrimination takes place when a job applicant or employee is treated unfavorably because of their race or characteristics associated with race. Racial discrimination can also involve treating a job applicant or employee unfavorably due to the marriage with a person of a certain race.
Federal law prohibits racial discrimination in any aspect of employment. This involves being hired, fired, paid, job assignments given, promotions, layoffs, benefits offered and more.
It is also against federal law to harass a person at work because of their race. Racial slurs or derogatory remarks about a person’s race can constitute harassment. However, the harassment must be so pervasive as to cause a hostile work environment or adverse employment decision. A one-time offhand remark may not be enough to be considered harassment.
Racial discrimination, like that alleged in the Amazon lawsuit, should never be tolerated. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s website on harassment and discrimination may be of interest to those who want more information on their rights and options.