Racial harassment: What should you know?

words Al Woods

Racial harassment in the workplace refers to instances of co-workers bothering you, treating you unfairly or threatening you because of your perceived:

·         Color

·         Race

·         Place of origin

·         Creed

·         Ancestry

·         Citizenship

·         Ethnic origin

Racial harassment may be on the basis of a combination of any of the above-mentioned characteristics. It can also be due to things related to them like your accent, chosen religion, or your clothing. It is against the law for any employer to allow you to be insulted, harassed, or treated unfairly because of any of these reasons.

Racial harassment

If you feel you have been harassed because of race, you should consult an experienced attorney that specializes in discrimination or racial harassment. Your rights exist wherever you work in the United States. This includes places like hotels, hospitals, stores and malls, restaurants, schools, and recreation facilities. Racial harassment can occur when someone –

·         Makes racial jokes

·         Insults you or makes fun of you due to your racial identity

·   Calls you names or slurs due to your color, citizenship, race, place of origin, ethnic background, ancestry, or creed.

·         Posts pictures or cartoons in a housing space, workplace, or school to degrade people belonging to a particular racial group.

Racial harassment does not even need to include actions or words directly related to race. It can even be that someone if unjustly singling you out for ill-treatment because of the background you belong to. Such behavior can poison or negatively affect where you work, live or receive services. Even though the harassment is not directly aimed at you, it can still poison the ambiance for you as well as others. This may make working and living together very hard.

Racial harassment

What Should You Do?

You can face racial harassment at the hands of:

·         Your co-worker or manager

·         Your teacher

·         Someone living in your building

·         A building manager, building owner, or janitor

If you feel you have been harassed, you should first try to tell the person to stop. Doing so may make you feel that you are putting your housing or job at risk. In such a case, go to a person with authority.

In your workplace, you can talk to your manager, the human resources team, or your union representative. In case it happens in your building, you may notify your landlord. If case none of the options improve your environment, or you feel scared of taking these steps, you can file a formal human rights complaint as well.

You may also choose to write it down. Whenever you experience racial harassment, write down exactly what happened. You should be highly specific and mention the times, places, dates, and witnesses (if possible) to whatever happened. You may ask your coworkers to note down that they heard or saw, specifically if they are undergoing the same thing.

Your harasser can try to defend themselves by attacking your job performance. So, keep copies of the records of work performance, such as copies of your letters documenting your work quality, performance evaluations, etc. This will make sure that when the right time comes, you are prepared with all the documents required to prove your case.

Conclusion

Racial harassment can be scarring and damaging to the victim. It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of the race a person belongs to and there are many attorneys who are working to make workplaces safer for everyone, regardless of race. If you have been harassed because of race, do not stay quiet. Take action and consult an attorney.

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