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How Common Is Race Discrimination in The Workplace?

Aug. 30, 2023

Our skin color and nationality are part of our identities, but if an employer mistreats you based on your appearance or where you are from, that is against the law. There are state and federal protections in place that outlaw race discrimination at work. If you think you have been discriminated against in the workplace, our race discrimination lawyer in Chicago would like to speak with you.

Sobering Statistics on Race Discrimination in The Workplace

In recent years, there have been national conversations on racism and injustice that received considerable attention. While some may believe that racial discrimination at work is in the past, the Gallup Center on Black Voices found in 2020 that about 24% of black and Hispanic employees in the United States reported they were discriminated against at work in the last year. Those findings were gleaned from a large Gallup Web survey in November 2020 that showed workplace discrimination based on race is still an extensive problem.

A follow-up question among those who claimed there was discrimination found that 75% of black workers said the discrimination was because of their race or ethnicity. This was higher than for Hispanics – 61% and whites – 42%. The 75% finding among black workers is consistent across age, gender, and income subgroups, with similar numbers saying the workplace discrimination they saw in the last year was based on their race.

Blacks and Hispanics who work in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) have also reported extensive job discrimination in recent years. A recent Pew Research poll found that blacks in STEM jobs were four times as likely as whites in the same jobs to say their employers do not pay sufficient attention to boosting ethnic and racial diversity on the job.

Black STEM workers were also more likely than blacks in non-STEM roles to say their companies pay insufficient attention to enhancing diversity (57% vs. 43%). The opposite was true in the survey for Hispanics: Those in STEM positions were less likely than those not employed in STEM to say their employers do not pay enough attention to diversity (23% vs. 37%).

What to Do About Race Discrimination at Work in Illinois

The Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits workplace discrimination, including race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and age. The Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) investigates accusations of employment discrimination based on race, national origin, and religion against private employers and the state and local government. For an investigation to be started, the employer has to have at least 15 employees, with limited exceptions. You can file a race discrimination complaint at the IDHR website.

If you think a federal employer discriminated against you, you should file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the EEOC counselor at the agency where the alleged discrimination happened. You must file your complaint with the EEOC within 300 days of the alleged discriminatory event.

Speak to A Race Discrimination Lawyer in Chicago

You can take legal action if you suspect you were discriminated against at work. Please contact our race discrimination attorney in Chicago at Law Office Of Michael T. Smith & Associates for a consultation.