Race Discrimination

Race Discrimination

Patterson Harkavy has a long history of fighting on behalf of employees subjected to racial discrimination at work. In one case, attorney Burton Craige successfully represented the government, asserting claims of employment discrimination on behalf of black extension agents across North Carolina. Burton’s victory was eventually affirmed by the United States Supreme Court in a case establishing standards for statistical proof in wage discrimination cases.

In addition to representing individual victims of discrimination, our attorneys also regularly provide appellate assistance to those fighting discrimination. In recent years, we have filed briefs defending the Racial Justice Act and in support of the UNC Center of Civil Rights.

If you think you have been the victim of discrimination because of your race, contact us to see if we can help.

What Is Race Discrimination?

Race discrimination occurs when an employer treats a job applicant or employee unfavorably due to his or her race, or because of personal traits associated with race.

What Laws Make Race Discrimination Illegal?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids employers from discriminating against a prospective or current employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin. It applies to all employers with 15 or more employees. Under Title VII, it is illegal for such an employer to treat employees unfairly based on their race. Employers are also not permitted to harass employees because of their race. Harassment can include practices such as name calling, using racial slurs, making derogatory remarks, or displaying offensive images if these practices create a hostile work environment for the employee. Claims under Title VII must first be brought before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Civil Rights Act of 1865, referred to as “Section 1981,” prohibits race discrimination in making and enforcing contracts. It applies to all employers, regardless of how many employees they have. It can apply outside a traditional employment structure, such cases involving independent contractors, vendors, venture capital companies, and other service contracts. Under this Act, it is illegal for an employer to intentionally discriminate against an employee with regards to the formation, performance, modification, or termination of a contract because of the employee’s race. If the employees, independent contractors, or vendors can show he or she would have been offered the contract “but for” the employer’s racial biases, they may be entitled to compensation for the loss of that contract. Claims under Section 1981 may be brought directly in federal or state court.

The North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act, as well as other state laws, protect North Carolina employees and applicants from discrimination based on race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, HIV/AIDS (for current employees), or disability or handicap. This law applies to both government agencies and private employers with 15 or more employees. This law can be enforced by pursuing a claim for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy.

Make an Impact: Protect Your Rights

If you have faced racial discrimination or harassment at work, you have the right to demand that it stop. Patterson Harkavy’s attorneys have successfully litigated cases of race discrimination across North Carolina. If you believe you have experienced race discrimination in your workplace, we would be glad to discuss your situation and what you can do to stop the harassment or be compensated for the discrimination you faced. Call Patterson Harkavy at 1-800-458-2541 or contact us online today.