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Frequently Asked Questions About Racial Discrimination

As a Kansas City employer, being able to identify potential issues in your workplace is key to preventing serious consequences from occurring. This is especially true when it comes to racial discrimination. Because instances of discrimination are can sometimes be subtle, many employers remain unaware of a problem until it is too late. Fortunately, WorkplaceFairness.org clears up the confusion by answering the following frequently asked questions.

What is racial discrimination?

According to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 racial discrimination is defined as affording different treatment to a worker based on his or her race. Discrimination can be an issue in just about every aspect of employment; it can occur when a person is being considered for hire or promotion, and it may also occur when a person is being fired. Being paid less, being harassed, or not progressing in job classification despite expanding your duties are other examples of discrimination.

Can racial discrimination include jokes?

Jokes or off-color remarks are not always classed as discrimination (even if they contain a racial element). However, if these comments contribute to a hostile work environment they may considered illegal. In this case, such statements would be classed as racial harassment, which is also unlawful according to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Is it permitted to ask for race on a job application?

In general, it’s not a good idea to ask for an employee’s race during the hiring process. There are some instances when an employer will need to ask to provide information regarding their affirmative action practices. This would entail requesting info on race  on a separate form, which would then be removed from the applications (additionally, these questionnaires are usually voluntary).  

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