Employment discrimination laws prohibit employers from discriminating against employees and applicants on the basis of race, color and ethnicity. The Civil Rights Act of 1964’s Title VII is a federal employment law that prohibits employers from discriminating against workers in employment. Similarly, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (here) extends those protections to workers in Colorado employment law. Title VII, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act and other employment laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of race prohibit discriminatory acts in employment decisions, such as hiring and firing, as well as harassment or hostile work environments on the basis of race, ethnicity, or color.
Colorado hostile work environment claims caused by race discrimination
A hostile work environment claim is a type of workplace harassment claim under federal and Colorado law caused by an employer creating or allowing offensive conduct to take place in the workplace. A hostile work environment claim caused by racial discrimination occurs when an employee is forced to endure unwelcome, offensive behavior from people in the workplace directed to a person’s race. The victim of a hostile work environment claim is often the direct target of the offensive conduct; however, a person may have a claim because they witnessed the harassing behavior and suffered harm.
Offensive conduct that can create a hostile work environment as a form of race discrimination include:
- Offensive remarks about a person’s race, color, or ethnicity;
- Offensive remarks about a person’s physical features related to their race or ethnicity;
- Comments related to stereotypes about a person’s race or ethnicity;
- Use of racial slurs;
- Jokes about a person’s race or ethnicity;
- Displaying objects, images, messages, or other visual cues that are racially-offensive;
- Derogatory gestures, facial expressions and behaviors intended to mimic or mock another person’s race or ethnicity;
- Isolating individuals in the workplace on the basis of their race or ethnicity;
- Acting to make others feel intimidated due to their race or ethnicity; and
- Using imagery, statements and other cues of racist organizations with the intent to offend, scare, or abuse others on the basis of their race or ethnicity.
This conduct creates a hostile work environment claim when the offensive conduct either:
- Is severe or pervasive in the workplace; or
- Results in an adverse, tangible employment action.
A hostile work environment claim may arise from the acts of a supervisor, coworkers, business owners, outside business partners, vendors, or customers. A hostile work environment claim due to a person’s race or ethnicity is a form of employment discrimination under federal and Colorado employment law.
Colorado hostile work environment attorneys
If you believe your workplace has become a hostile work environment on the basis of race, color, or ethnicity then you should contact Colorado hostile work environment attorneys right away to discuss your situation. Harassment claims, particularly involving employment discrimination, generally require employees to take specific steps within specific time limitations to act against the hostile work environment. Failing to take the right steps can perpetuate the harassment and prevent the employee from pursuing a claim against the employer for the race discrimination.