You have the right to be treated equally regardless of your race or color. Race discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because he or she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with race. Color discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of skin color complexion.

Discrimination on the basis of characteristics associated with race—such as skin color, hair texture, or certain facial features—violates the law, even though not all members of the race share the same characteristics. Even though race and color overlap, they are not synonymous. Color discrimination can occur between people of different races or ethnicities, or between people of the same race or ethnicity.

An employment practice that applies to everyone, regardless of race or color, can be unlawful if it negatively impacts people of a certain race or color without a strong enough business justification.

You have the right to file a complaint or a Charge of Discrimination, participate in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit, or oppose harassment or discrimination without being retaliated against by your employer.

What this means for you

Employers are not allowed to discriminate against you because of:

  • your race,
  • your color or skin tone,
  • your hair texture,
  • stereotypes or assumptions about your abilities, traits, or performance based on your race,
  • marriage or association with an individual of a different race,
  • membership or association with ethnic based organizations or groups,
  • attendance or participation in schools or places of worship generally associated with certain minority groups,
  • cultural practices or characteristics often linked to race or ethnicity, such as cultural dress or manner of speech, or
  • medical conditions that predominantly affect one race.

Examples of discrimination

In general, this means that you cannot be:

  • fired,
  • rejected for a job or promotion,
  • given lesser assignments,
  • forced to take leave, or
  • otherwise disciplined

because of your race or color.

Questions? We’re here to help.

We are committed to helping you understand your rights as a worker. Many questions about your rights may be answered by using the following elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors:

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) work together to coordinate investigations of complaints.

For additional assistance, please contact:

Learn about filing a complaint

We’ll help you decide what to do next and determine whether filing a complaint is the best course of action. You must file a complaint within a certain timeframe to take further legal action, so it is best to begin the process early.

Please note that it is illegal for your employer to fire, demote, harass, or otherwise retaliate against you for reporting an issue to the OFCCP or EEOC.

File with OFCCP File with EEOC