We Protect Workers

3 signs of race discrimination in the workplace

Your employer should not treat you unfairly because of your race. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibits employers from treating employees or job candidates unfavorably because of personal characteristics associated with race, including skin color, hair texture, facial features and so on.

The following are three signs that might indicate race discrimination in the workplace.

Lack of diversity in higher positions

If you are qualified and have been with a company long enough but are overlooked for promotions, you should be alarmed. If you notice a lack of diversity in the positions you have been denied, you may be experiencing race discrimination. Your employer may be favoring the particular races that are getting the opportunities.


Stereotyping is another way race discrimination happens in the workplace. For instance, your employer giving you tasks based on what they have heard about your race may be discriminatory.

Further, stereotypes can lead to verbal bullying. It may be unlawful for your colleagues to make derogatory jokes or remarks about your race. This can create a hostile work environment for you.

Using “us” and “they” may also create division at work. Most people use these words when stating stereotypes.

Unfair criticism

If a supervisor unfairly criticizes you – they use a harsh tone and possibly in a public place, they may be discriminating against you, especially if this is also the experience of coworkers who belong to your race.

Employees from a different race may not be subjected to such criticism when they make a mistake similar to yours. This can make you question your competence.

If you believe you have experienced race discrimination at work, consider finding out more about your legal options.