Phillips & Associates

Race Discrimination and the EEOC

New York City Attorneys Advancing the Workplace Interests of Employees

Workplace race discrimination occurs when an employer treats a job applicant or an employee unfavorably due to their race, or because of attributes associated with a particular race. It can also occur if a job applicant or employee is treated unfavorably due to the race of the applicant or employee's spouse. If you are a job applicant or employee who needs help with issues related to race discrimination and the EEOC, you should call the experienced New York City race discrimination lawyers at Phillips & Associates. Our employment law firm has dedicated advocates for workers who have been subject to illegal discrimination.

What Does the EEOC Consider Race Discrimination?

Race discrimination can occur under many different circumstances in the workplace. It is basically a claim that a job applicant or employee was treated differently and worse because of their actual or perceived race. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, race discrimination is forbidden in the context of hiring, termination, promotions, demotions, training, pay, job assignments, fringe benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment. Race discrimination can occur even when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are of the same race.

Your employer has violated Title VII if race was part or all of its motivation for a significant employment decision. Suppose, for example, that you are black and apply for a job as a foreman with a construction company. You already held this position with another construction company in a different city for 10 years. However, you discover a less qualified white person who has never held the job of foreman before is hired. You may have a viable claim of race discrimination. The New York employment law firm of Phillips & Associates has successfully handled hundreds of race discrimination cases in the EEOC and in court.


The EEOC includes harassment on the basis of the victim's race or color as a form of discrimination. The harassment could include displaying racially offensive symbols, such as the swastika, as well as racial slurs, or offensive remarks about someone's color or race. To be actionable as racial harassment, under Federal and New York State discrimination laws, these remarks must be so severe or so frequent that they create a hostile work environment, or they must result in an adverse employment action, such as demotion or termination. However, under the broader New York City Human Rights Law, the hostile work environment needs to rise above a petty slight or trivial inconvenience. It’s important to discuss your hostile work environment with an experienced employment law firm that understands the differences in the Federal, State and New York City discrimination laws.

Unconscious Bias

In some cases, an employer never explicitly says that it did not want to promote a black candidate. However, you may be able to infer bias from the kinds of questions or comments that are made by the hiring manager. Often, the remarks reflect stereotypes. For example, the hiring manager may remark that the decision was based on wanting someone to interact with the customers who had a wholesome all-American look, or wanting a more sophisticated approach. An EEOC investigator will also look at the racial composition of the company, your past experience and work history, and whether there is a basis for believing that the person who got the job or other benefit over you was better qualified in the ways mentioned by the hiring manager.

Disparate Impact

Many people are used to thinking of racism and, by extension, race discrimination according to the intent of the perpetrator. However, racism is sometimes unconscious. Furthermore, an employment policy or practice that seems neutral can still be illegal race discrimination when it has a disparate and negative impact on people of a specific race.


Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of not only race but also color, sex, religion, and national origin. In some cases, it is not clear exactly which of the protected traits is the basis of the discrimination. However, the EEOC will find that there is a violation of Title VII even if the employer only discriminates against black women but not against white women or black men.

Retain a New York City Attorney to Protect Your Rights

At Phillips & Associates, we may be able to help if you have concerns about race discrimination and the EEOC. Our employment law firm can develop a strategy to pursue remedies on your behalf. Our attorneys combat employment discrimination and harassment in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island—all five boroughs of New York City—as well as Nassau and Suffolk Counties. We also handle employment law cases in Westchester, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Contact us at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form.

45 Broadway, #620,
New York NY, 10006
Tel: 212-248-7431
Fax: 212-901-2107
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