Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

Recognizing racial discrimination in the workplace

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2023 | Race And National Origin Discrimination

Racial discrimination in the workplace represents a deep-seated issue plaguing the employment sector. This challenge is not alien to Washington, which, according to WalletHub, is the 17th most diverse state in the country. Recognizing signs of racial discrimination is the first step toward addressing this concern.

Addressing racial discrimination in the workplace requires employees to be vigilant. Understanding the indicators can empower them to seek resolution and promote a more inclusive environment. Here are the signs that an employer may be racially discriminating against their employees.

Observable disparities in treatment

The most obvious sign of racial discrimination is a noticeable difference in how the employer treats employees of different races. If employees of one race consistently receive less favorable treatment than their colleagues of other races in comparable roles, it suggests potential racial discrimination. Examples of differential treatment could include the allocation of less desirable job tasks, unfair criticism or exclusion from important meetings or social events.

Inconsistent application of workplace policies

Employers should apply workplace policies consistently across all racial groups. If there is a pattern of enforcing rules more strictly for employees of one race or of overlooking infringements by employees of another race, this could signify racial discrimination.

Disparities in opportunities and advancement

Race should not influence the allocation of opportunities for training, promotion or other forms of career advancement. If employees notice a pattern of these opportunities consistently going to employees of one race over another, it suggests racial discrimination.

Uncomfortable or inappropriate comments

Racial discrimination is not always about actions. Sometimes, it manifests in comments or jokes that stereotype or demean a particular racial group. Such comments, whether from an employer or colleague, create a hostile work environment.

Washington State Law Against Discrimination

Washington State Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) protects employees from racial discrimination. It prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee based on race in any aspect of employment, including hiring, promotion, job duties and termination.

Employees who believe they are facing racial discrimination have the right to file a complaint with the Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC). They can investigate and take appropriate action to resolve the situation.

Discrimination based on race is illegal, and those experiencing it can seek redress through the appropriate channels. A discrimination-free workplace benefits everyone by fostering respect and fairness among all employees.