Are Employers Protected from Liability for Same-Race Discrimination?


Racial discrimination occurs when an individual treats another individual differently based on their race or their perceived race. Racial discrimination can occur when a person is specifically targeted for the color of their skin, but it can also take a broader form, such as when individuals are targeted for their association with other members of their race.

Minority groups are often the target of racial discrimination in the workplace. Sometimes discrimination occurs directly, such as when an employer willfully uses a slur against an employee or otherwise targets them for their race. Sometimes, though, racial discrimination takes a more indirect, insidious form – for instance, if there’s a job policy that tends to exclude marginalized employees, or if marginalized employees aren’t paid the same as other employees for the same job.

Racial discrimination often occurs when a person of one race discriminates against a person of a different race. But racial discrimination between two individuals of the same race can occur too. Some people may assume that two individuals of the same race can’t racially discriminate against one another, but same-race discrimination occurs in the workplace more often than many people realize.

What Is Same-Race Discrimination? 

We tend to think about race discrimination as occurring between individuals of two different races, the majority discriminating against the minority. But same-race discrimination is a reality in many workplaces. Same-race discrimination occurs when an individual of a certain race discriminates against another individual of the same race.

Are Employers Protected?

The law is clear. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 established in Title VII that it is unlawful for any employer to discriminate against an employee or potential employee on the basis of their race. It’s illegal, even if the employer is of the same race as the employee they discriminated against.

Slurs and racial epithets are never acceptable in the workplace, and employers can be held liable for this type of discrimination in court. Employers can also be held liable if the court finds that they have discriminated against employees on the basis of race in the hiring process, when determining pay, or in job classification.

Compensation for Discrimination Claims

If you are an employee and you believe that you were discriminated against on the basis of race by your employer, you may be entitled to claim compensation and other benefits.

Victims of discrimination on the basis of race may recover compensation for the losses they suffered as a result of the discrimination, such as:

  • Back pay
  • Front pay
  • Lost benefits
  • Lost bonuses
  • Failure to promote
  • Costs associated with seeking a new job
  • Damages for pain and suffering caused by your employer, which includes things such as emotional trauma and mental anguish
  • Punitive damages, which are designed to “punish” your employer for the discriminatory behavior
  • Attorney’s fees and other costs incurred by litigating in court
  • Expenses related to witnesses in your case

The court may also demand that your employer make the rest of the business or company aware of the racial discrimination that occurred and require them to take steps to prevent it from happening again.

 How an Employment Law Attorney Can Help

If you are an employee or prospective employee who has been discriminated against based on your race, you deserve to be compensated for your financial losses and the pain and suffering caused by the act or acts of discrimination. The Georgia employment discrimination attorneys at the Vaughn Law Firm are passionate about fighting for victims of racial discrimination and will help you seek the recovery you are entitled to.

For your convenience, our law firm has offices in both Decatur, GA, and Washington, D.C. Get in touch with one of our attorneys today for a free consultation by calling 1-877-212-8089 or contacting us online.