When your boss is a racist

Federal and Texas laws prohibit discriminating on the basis of race. If your boss is a racist who takes an adverse employment action against you because of your race, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit. The primary federal law that prohibits workplace race discrimination is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law applies to private employers that employ 15 or more employees.

Texas Labor Code Chapter 21 also prohibits race discrimination. Under this law, an employer cannot base its employment decisions on its assumptions or stereotypes about the performance of certain races, or on a job applicant or employee’s association with individuals of particular races, membership in ethnic-based organizations, or participation in schools or houses of worship associated with specific minority groups. They aren’t permitted to isolate or segregate employees of certain races from customer contact, exclude them from certain positions or regions, or code applications to designate race for the purpose of excluding them from particular positions.

If your boss is racist, and you believe he or she is making employment decisions based on race, you may eventually need to file a charge or lawsuit. You will need proof in order to successfully prevail on your claim. You should record incidents of abusive behavior or racism immediately after they occur and keep your notes in a place that others cannot access. In your entry, you should note the date and time and describe what happened.

You should quote any racist comments and describe in detail any gestures or conduct, as well as any actions you feel constitute abuse. If the racist behavior occurs in emails or other writings, you should take a picture with your personal cell phone or keep a copy. Often, perpetrators deny that abuse occurred, and having a detailed account as well as other evidence can help your attorney hold your boss accountable.

You should follow any procedures outlined in an employment handbook to report your boss to your human resources department. Although this may be difficult, if you report the abuse, your employer cannot deny that it knew about the situation or claim that it would have taken remedial measures had it known. When an incident is reported, your employer should take appropriate actions to stop the racist comments or behavior.

If your employer doesn’t fix the situation, however, you may want to consider filing a formal complaint. When an employer is covered by Title VII, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within a limited time window. The EEOC can investigate and determine whether to pursue your claim through mediation or in court. The EEOC may decide not to pursue your claim, and then you are issued a right to sue. If your employer isn’t covered by Title VII but is covered by Texas law, you can file a claim with the Texas Workforce Commission-Civil Rights Division (TWC-CRD).

When a case isn’t resolved administratively, you can file a lawsuit. You have to allow either the EEOC or the TWC-CRD 180 days to investigate your charge before going forward with your lawsuit against your employer.

It can be important to obtain representation from an experienced employment lawyer when you have a dispute with your employer regarding discrimination or other matters. Contact us at (214) 528-6500 or via our online intake form.

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