Remedies for Racial Discrimination

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on race. If you have been a victim of racial discrimination, as long as you have evidence to prove it, you are protected under federal law.

Remedies Available for Race Discrimination

There are several potential remedies available in claims for employment based race discrimination. These are:

Injunction Relief

This is a legal remedy often sought in a civil lawsuit, in place of, or in addition to monetary damages.

Rather than typically offering money as a compensation payment for an act of race discrimination in a civil action, injunction relief is a court order requiring that the defendant stops race discrimination.

Back Pay

An employee who has suffered unlawful race discrimination is eligible to receive back pay. Back pay is the amount in wages that the employee should have received had the unlawful race discrimination not occurred and is calculated from the 1st day the unlawful discrimination began until the jury verdict.

For example, an employee who has been earning a salary of $400 per week and is fired because of his/her race. The time from when s/he was fired to the time a verdict is returned by a jury in his/her favor is just one month.

The employee is eligible to back pay of $1,600.

Front Pay

A court could also demand that an employer gives the wronged employee his/her job back which is called reinstatement.

However, if reinstatement does not seem to make practical sense, then the employee is eligible for front pay. Front pay is compensation paid that covers the employee’s lost future wages and benefits.

It is calculated from the date the court enters a judgment that favors the employee to the day that the employee finds another job opportunity.

For example, an employee who receives a salary of $400 weekly and is fired because of his/her race. The time that the court entered the judgment in his/her favor to the time s/he is hired for the same job with the same salary, the same title and the same responsibilities at another business is one month. S/he is eligible to receive front pay of $1,600 which is 4 weeks x $400.

Compensatory and Punitive Damages

An employee who has suffered race discrimination may also be eligible to obtain damages for mental or emotional distress caused by the intentional race discrimination at work.

In order to be entitled to recover these non-pecuniary damages the employee needs to show his/her mental state has suffered an injury such as anxiety, sleeplessness, depression or a nervous breakdown.

Punitive damages are a penalty the employee is required to pay because it has been discovered that the race discrimination is deliberate.

As soon as you experience discrimination you should review your company handbook and contract and then if you believe you have suffered race discrimination you should notify HR.

Helpful Evidence In Support of a Race Discrimination Claim

Before filing a race discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) you will need to support your claim with as much evidence as possible. The more evidence you have the better. The sorts of evidence could include the following:

  • proof that you are a member of the protected class;
  • proof that you were treated differently than someone of a different race;
  • proof that someone who holds a similar position to you in terms of rank, or job duties, but who is of a different race but was treated more favorably.

Evidence can take several forms. It should include:

  • testimony, which is typically a statement taken from somebody who has first-hand knowledge of your situation;
  • documents, which could include policies, procedures, letters, handwritten notes, files etc. as well as disks and tapes, and other types of recordings related to your race discrimination case.

You can file your complaint online with the EEOC or call and schedule an appointment.

A Charge of Discrimination can be completed through the online system after you have submitted an online inquiry and you have attended an interview. If you decide to file a charge by letter you will need to include the following information:

  • your name and contact information;
  • the contact details for your employer you are filing the charge against;
  • the number of employees employed by the business;
  • a short description of the act of race discrimination, which should include whether you were either fired, demoted or harassed;
  • when the race discrimination took place;
  • why you believe you suffered racial discrimination;
  • your signature.

Next Steps

If you have been discriminated against by your employer, you should fill out a free evaluation form. You may be entitled to compensation.

Additional Resources