Race Discrimination

Race Discrimination Lawyer serving Rockland County, NY & Bergen County, NJ

If you work or live in Rockland County, NY, or in Bergen County, NJ and are in need of an age race lawyer, The Zdanis Law Firm can help.  Attorney, Karen Zdanis, has both a MBA and her law degree.  She began her career consulting with Fortune type corporations and has been practicing law since 2001.  This real world understating of business and how corporations operate give her and understanding of the issues of race discrimination that cannot just be learned in law school.  The firm is small enough to give you the attention you want but talented and experienced enough to deliver the results you need.

Race Discrimination Claims:

Race is protected category under state and federal laws.  Yet, it remains too common in the workplace.

What Behavior Constitutes Illegal Race Discrimination?

Race discrimination involves treating a current or potential employee unfavorably because he or she is a member of a certain race or because he or she has personal characteristics associated with a race.  Color discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of skin color complexion. Race or color discrimination can also involve treating someone unfavorably because the person is married or dating a person of a certain race characteristic.

What Traits are Protected Under Race Discrimination Law?

Traits related to race, such as a certain hair textures, skin colors, and certain facial features are also covered under the race discrimination law.

  Some Examples of Race Discrimination:

Depending on the circumstances of the discrimination, each of these examples could constitute a legal claim of race discrimination:

  • Use of ethnic or racial slurs
  • Spread of ethnic or racial jokes or cartoons
  • Disparaging comments about your race or ethnicity
  • Reliance upon ethnic or racial stereotypes
  • Unwelcome comments about your supposed racial or ethnic characteristics

Types and Requisites of Race Discrimination Claims:

Intentional Race discrimination

Race discrimination can be categorized in a number of different ways, but legally a race discrimination claim is either intentional or disparate impact.  Intentional race discrimination claims involve cases in which an employee claims an employer (through a manager, supervisor, or sometimes co-worker(s)) purposely discriminates against an employee because of their race.  It requires an adverse employment action.  For example, an employee is not hired or not promoted because of their race. Or they earn less than other employees because of their race.  Calling someone a racially derogatory name or telling racist jokes in the workplace is evidence of intentional racial discrimination.  If an employer is aware of the discrimination and yet looks the other way, or does nothing to try to stop the discrimination, there may be a legal claim for discrimination.

Disparate Race Discrimination

Another type of discrimination exists when the behavior is not always obvious or blatant.  It is called disparate impact discrimination, and it exists when an employer’s policies, practices or rules have the effect of discriminating against members of a particular race and there is no reasonable justification for the policy, practice or rule.  One example is if an employer requires a test of some kind to be considered for hire or promotion, and employees of one race score significantly below employees of another race.  The test may have an unlawful disparate impact, and the employer may be liable for race discrimination. To withstand a claim about the test being racially discriminatory, the employer must show that the test is both “reliable” and “valid.”

Is there Such a Thing as Reverse Race Discrimination or Same Race Discrimination?

Discrimination can occur when the person being discriminated against is the same race or color as the person discriminating.  And unfortunately, race discrimination exists against Caucasians, African-Americans, and Asians, no category is excluded.  This means an Asian may be discriminated against by a Caucasian person or another Asian.  The same is true with different races.

One way that race discrimination transpires is that employers with managers or supervisors who express or act out on racial bias fail to take adequate steps to discourage and address racial harassment that occurs at their work sites. Some employers engage in overt racial discrimination against employees and applicants. Another way race discrimination transpires is by employers implementing seemingly neutral policies that nevertheless adversely affect members of racial minorities.

Although in New York and New Jersey, ordinarily “one” ethnic or racial slur is not enough to constitute a legal claim.

 What Laws Govern Race Discrimination?

People living and working in New York and New Jersey are protected from race discrimination through various laws. Federally, Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, prohibits employment discrimination based on either race or color.  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is also a federal law that provides protections to workers by outlawing race, color and national origin discrimination.

New York also has a state law, the Human Rights Law, that prohibits race discrimination, amongst other protected categories.  The New York State Human Rights Law makes it “an unlawful discriminatory practice” for an employer to refuse to hire, discharge, or otherwise discriminate against an individual with respect to the terms or conditions of employment because of that individual’s race. N.Y. Exec. Law § 296.

New Jersey has the Law Against Discrimination, which makes it unlawful to subject people to differential treatment in employment based on race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, or ancestry. N.J.S.A. 10:5-12

How do I know if I have a Case and should speak with a Discrimination Lawyer?

There is a standard that must be met to have a case.  Generally “one joke or racial slur” will not be enough evidence to sustain a discrimination claim and bring it to trial. The Second Circuit, the New York Federal Court’s appellate court holds that the “mere utterance of an . . . epithet which engenders offensive feelings in an employee does not sufficiently affect the conditions of employment to implicate Title VII.”  Rather, “for racist comments, slurs, and jokes to constitute a hostile work environment, there must be ‘more than a few isolated incidents of racial enmity.'”

Schwapp v. Town of Avon, 118 F.3d 106, 110 (2d Cir. 1997) (quoting Snell v. Suffolk County, 782 F.2d 1094, 1103 (2d Cir. 1986)). “Whether racial slurs constitute a hostile work environment typically depends upon the quantity, frequency, and severity of those slurs.” Schwapp, 118 F.2d at 110-11.

Lawyer Karen Zdanis Has A Distinctive Approach to Race Discrimination Cases

Employment law has many facets that are different from issues faced in general litigation. Not only because there are often personal and emotional issues at play, but because the laws pertaining to employment law are complex.  In some cases, an employee needs to file with a government administrative agency before going to court, or in other cases file a notice of claim within a short amount of time after being terminated.

In my opinion, which incorporates more than fifteen years of successfully representing employer and employees as clients, employment law cases are best suited for attorneys equipped with specific knowledge and experience because they involve different rules and obligations.  I make sure my clients are always as educated as possible about these choices, because an informed choice is important from start to finish.  My approach is to begin a case with as much information as possible, so that I fully understand the client’s perspective.  This enables me to formulate a strategy that is best suited for the case.

How is the Zdanis Law Firm Different?

Because each case is unique, I do not believe there is a scripted answer to apply to employment cases. I pay careful attention, especially at the beginning of a case to make sure the appropriate steps are followed.  Someone who has been discriminated against often has options as far as what legal course of action to take. An employee who has been victimized should consider all options available to him or her to be able to make the best choice for his or her individual situation.

My firm is small, however I believe the personal attention I am able to provide yields insurmountable benefits.  I only take on cases that I believe have merit. If I decide to take a case, I set a plan from the beginning, tailored to each specific case’s needs. That is why I believe my approach to handling race discrimination cases is effective.

What do I do if I think I may have a Race Discrimination Claim? Speak with a good lawyer

If you have read the above information on race discrimination and think you are a victim of race discrimination, the first step to deciding whether or not you should pursue a legal action is to understand your rights. I available for a brief telephone call to determine if your situation rises to the level of a valid legal claim and to discern if it merits an in-person consultation. Good legal counsel is an important component to protecting your rights.  .  When you need an age discrimination Lawyer call The Zdanis Law Frim – Rockland County, NY: 845-356-0855, Bergen County, NJ:  201-695-8005.