Written by: John Dalton
| Read Time: 4 minutes

In an ideal world, employers judge employees solely by their skills and capabilities, not by their skin color. Unfortunately, even in progressive states like California, workplace racial discrimination is still a problem. And it can have a lasting psychological and professional impact on workers.

Knowing how to prove racial discrimination in the workplace is crucial in the fight for fairness and inclusivity. If you suspect you’re a victim of racial discrimination, the first and most critical step is to call us at the Law Office of John Dalton. With decades of experience securing significant settlements and verdicts for victims of discrimination and harassment, we are skilled at navigating the complicated employment law landscape. We can help you seek the justice you deserve.

How Do I Identify the Different Types of Racial Discrimination?

Racial discrimination can manifest in “disparate treatment” and “adverse impact.” Comprehending both types is essential when it comes to understanding how to prove racial discrimination in the workplace. 

Disparate Treatment

Disparate treatment is the intentional, unequal treatment of employees based on their racial background. This form of discrimination can be overt, like racial slurs, race-based jokes, negative statements about a particular race, race-based drawings or cartoons, hangman’s nooses, or obvious bias. It can also be disguised through acts of unwarranted scrutiny or unfavorable assignments.

Examples include:

  • Hiring and promotion—employers may pass on the most qualified candidates in favor of less-qualified individuals from a favored racial group for job opportunities or promotions;
  • Harassment and hostile work environment—employers may engage in racial slurs, jokes, and other verbal or physical conduct that discriminates against workers based on race; and
  • Unequal opportunity—employers may assign employees of a particular racial group to less desirable job tasks, deny them training, or fail to give them opportunities to advance within the company.

If you suspect your employer is engaging in disparate treatment because of your race, it’s crucial to give us a call.

Adverse Impact

Adverse impact happens when an outwardly neutral workplace policy negatively, and often disproportionately, affects specific racial groups. In this case, the discrimination may not be intentional, but it is still damaging.

Examples include:

  • Testing and requirements—employers may administer job tests or have educational requirements that aren’t relevant to job performance but disproportionately exclude certain racial groups; and
  • Recruitment practices—employers may use recruitment channels that fail to reach diverse racial and ethnic communities.

Identifying racial discrimination in the workplace is a vital step in effecting change. If you believe you’re experiencing discrimination, it’s essential to contact us so we can advise you based on your specific situation.

What Types of Evidence Proves Workplace Discrimination?

Proving racial discrimination requires solid evidence. For this reason, it’s important to document everything thoroughly. Evidence could include:

  • Written records of each discriminatory incident, including time, date, and details;
  • Witness testimony corroborating discriminatory experiences;
  • Emails, text messages, or other written communication that show discriminatory behaviors (it is important to preserve this information and not delete text messages or emails because they might contain derogatory or negative language); and
  • Performance reviews or disciplinary actions targeting employees based on race.

If you think your employer engaged in racial discrimination, we can help you determine which evidence best supports your claim and help you chart a sound course of action.

Do I Have to File a Formal Discrimination Complaint?

You can file a workplace discrimination complaint with your supervisor, your employer’s human resources department, the California Civil Rights Division (formerly the Department of Fair Employment and Housing), or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) without speaking to an attorney. However, while this is a legitimate first step, it’s not the only one. You may feel uncomfortable discussing the issue with human resources or your supervisor—and understandably so. 

The fact is, you don’t need to file a complaint or notify anyone before speaking with an attorney. Therefore, if you believe you are a victim, or even a witness to racial discrimination, it is very important you contact us at your earliest opportunity.  We can help you take the most effective steps and safeguard your claim. Taking the right first step is especially important because a poorly handled initial complaint can complicate your case and delay justice.

How Can the Law Office of John Dalton Help Me?

Trying to navigate through the legal steps after you believe you are a victim of, or witness to, racial discrimination can inadvertently weaken your complaint. A mistake in filing your initial claim, choosing where to file it, or presenting your case can undermine your chances of a successful outcome. These are just a few reasons why you should call the Law Office of John Dalton. We can guide you through the complaint process, help you gather the evidence you need to file a sound claim, and represent you in court if necessary. At the Law Office of John Dalton, we only practice employment law and focus solely on the ”little guy,” offering extensive experience, a compassionate approach, and the utmost professionalism. We are aggressive and fight for our clients.  We’ve recovered tens of millions of dollars for clients just like you. So if you think you’re a victim, don’t wait. Call us for a free case review. You deserve a strong, solid, and dependable legal advocate on your side.

    “I highly respect John and his dedication and integrity. You will not be disappointed.” John Dalton went to work for me and delivered great results. I wasn’t sure what to do and when I found John, he explained everything nicely and he was able to get me the settlement I truly deserved. He was easy to work with and I always felt like I was kept in the loop - it was really fantastic service all around. - Steve K.
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