Both federal law and California state law prohibit certain forms of workplace discrimination. These laws make it illegal to discriminate against individuals or groups on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex. Nevertheless, despite its illegality many people still report experiencing discrimination in their day-to-day lives as well as in the workplace.
A recent NPR survey conducted in collaboration with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health polled various ethnic groups regarding their experiences with discrimination. In a somewhat surprising result, the study revealed that Asian-Americans, the group with the highest average income of those surveyed, still reported discrimination in housing, employment and education based on race.
Specifically, 27 percent of Asian-Americans reported discrimination in applying for jobs, while 25 percent reported discrimination in pay and/or promotions in their employment. About 25 percent also reported experiencing discrimination in housing, and 19 percent indicated they had been discriminated against in applying for college. In addition, many Asian-Americans also reported experiencing racial discrimination on an individual level whether in the form of racial slurs, offensive comments or negative assumptions.
This poll demonstrates that discrimination takes many forms and is an all too common experience for many. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of laws that prohibit discrimination and protect employee rights within the workplace. These laws are aimed at targeting not only racial discrimination but also discrimination based on age, sex and disabilities. Additionally, the Civil Rights Act also makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for making a complaint or filing a charge or discrimination.
Civil rights and workplace discrimination can be challenging and politically charged topics, but they are important to talk about. If you feel you have suffered from unlawful discrimination at work, speak to a lawyer who is experienced in employment law.
Source: NPR.org, “Poll: Asian-Americans See Individuals’ Prejudice As Big Discrimination Problem,” Joe Neel, Dec. 6, 2017