Race in America is that ever-present white elephant in the room which creeps into every conversation and influences our most subconscious thoughts. Congress considered this fact when it enacted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) which does its best to keep racial biases out of the workplace by prohibiting employers from:
- Failing or refusing to hire or promote an employee based on their race;
- Firing or discipling an employee because of race;
- Paying an employee less or providing them fewer benefits on account of their race;
- Failing to provide benefits, promotions, or opportunities to an employee because of their race; and
- Improperly classifying or segregating employees or applicants by race.
Although employers may inquire about race and affirmative action programs, they are prohibited from allowing race to be part of the decision-making process.
Furthermore, Title VII prohibits employee segregation that is based on race, it also prohibits assigning primarily minorities to certain positions or groups or to categorize employees or jobs so that certain jobs are generally held by minorities. Race or color is never a bona fide occupational qualification under Title VII.
Racial discrimination and employment policies must apply to everyone, regardless of race or color and Title VII prohibits race/color discrimination against all persons, including Caucasians. Although race and color overlap, they are different. While Title VII does not define “color,” the courts and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission read “color” to have its commonly understood meaning-pigmentation, complexion, or skin shade or tone. Racial discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because he/she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with race (such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features). Color discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of skin color complexion.
Yes, we have all engaged in the discussion about race. Living in America makes this fact undeniable. It would serve us well to define the terms being used in order to use them properly. I hope the foregoing was helpful. - SEO