When it comes to classic discrimination cases, the majority of early case law revolves around race discrimination. Currently, race discrimination receives the highest prohibitions, and it also receives the strictest scrutiny as outlined in a number of constitutional law cases. In some cases, it's easy to see discrimination in the workplace, but just because it's easy to see doesn't mean that it will be easy to prove.

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Race discrimination cases, like all other discrimination cases, must be proven to a sufficient certainty to satisfy the judge or jury, depending on the type of case it is. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff, even if the discrimination has been blatant and obvious. It's important to document the behaviors so that you can either establish that racial discrimination has created a hostile work environment or that you have been systematically discriminated against based on your race. Systematic discrimination can include a number of different things, including:

  • Demotion
  • Unfair discipline
  • Lower pay
  • Lower benefits
  • Increased hours without increased benefits
  • Lack of promotions, despite earning one

You need to be able to prove through objective evidence that your employer, or others in the business who are in a position of authority over you, have done these things. Remember to look for your employer's counter arguments. If, for instance, you sue for racial discrimination based on the fact that you were demoted and receive even lower pay than those at a similar level, you need to know whether your employer has evidence that you were demoted or disciplined due to inadequate work performance or other legitimate reasons. Just because the employer states that this is the case doesn't mean you've lost your case. You just need to be prepared to provide proof to the contrary. Even if you don't know for sure whether your employer can claim such facts, be prepared to demonstrate your own efforts to make your case stronger.

If you think you have a race discrimination case, it’s best to speak to a lawyer.

Get started Ask an Employment Lawyer a Question You'll hear back in one business day.

Get started Ask an Employment Lawyer a Question You'll hear back in one business day.