Race Discrimination Lawyers in Columbus
It is unlawful for an employer to treat an applicant or employee unfairly or unequally because of his or her race. Unfortunately, although both Ohio law and federal law prohibit discrimination in the workplace, some employers still institute discriminatory employment policies. If you were harassed at work, denied a promotion, or were turned down for a job because of your race, you should contact an experienced workplace discrimination attorney who can help protect your rights.
Federal Law Claims
One of the most well-known anti-discrimination law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, prohibits employers with more than 15 employees from discriminating against any worker based on his or her race, national origin, color, religion, or sex. Discrimination based on race can take a variety of forms, although the most common include:
- Workplace harassment, which includes inappropriate jokes, insults, racial slurs, and displaying offensive symbols;
- Offering a lower wage to those of a certain race;
- Denying the opportunity for career advancement or a pay raise to someone because of his or her race;
- Denying a prospective employee a job purely because of his or her race; and
- Terminating someone’s employment because of his or her race.
These outright discriminatory actions are unlawful under both state and federal law. Some types of discrimination, however, are less obvious. For instance, it is discriminatory for an employer to create a policy, even if it applies to all employees that:
- Is not job-related or necessary to the successful operation of the employer’s business; and
- Has a negative impact on employees or applicants of a particular race.
Employees or applicants who have suffered under these types of policies can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as long as they do so within 300 days of the discriminatory act. This agency will then investigate the matter and decide whether or not to litigate. Even if the EEOC chooses not to litigate, the claimant can institute a civil action against the employer on his or her own.
Filing a Complaint Under State Law
Ohio law also prohibits employers who have four or more employees from discriminating against employees and applicants in any matter that is either directly or indirectly related to employment. This includes a prohibition against taking the following actions based on a person’s race:
- Firing without cause;
- Refusing to hire;
- Refusing to offer tenure; and
- Offering lower wages or privileges of employment.
Although both Title VII and state law, provide the same basic protections, Ohio law also makes it unlawful to:
- Aid, compel, or coerce a discriminatory act;
- Obstruct or prevent someone from complying with state law regarding discrimination; or
- Attempt to commit a discriminatory act.
A victim of discrimination can file a claim with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC), which serves a function similar to that of the EEOC and investigates all complaints of employment discrimination. If the agency finds probable cause to believe that a practice was discriminatory it will conduct a formal hearing. Unlike the EEOC, the OCRC can adjudicate these claims, although their final decision can be appealed to Ohio state court. Claimants have six months from the date of the discriminatory act to file a claim with the OCRC. Furthermore, unlike a federal claim, a claimant is not required to exhaust administrative remedies through the OCRC before filing suit in a court of common pleas.
Contact an Experienced Ohio Workplace Discrimination Attorney
If you were the victim of workplace discrimination because of your race, please contact Marshall & Forman, LLC at (614) 463-9790 to speak with a dedicated and compassionate workplace discrimination attorney about your case.