Do I Have a Case for Racial Discrimination?

employees working togetherThere are several state and federal laws in Arizona that prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of an employee’s or applicant’s race. This includes discrimination related to hiring, terminating pay, job assignments, training and other terms and conditions of employment.

If you believe you have been a victim of illegal racial discrimination, our Phoenix employment law attorneys can help. We can discuss your claim during a confidential consultation to find out if you have a case against your employer.

Below, we discuss the basics of a racial discrimination case and when an employer may have violated an employee or applicant’s rights. Contact us to learn more about how this applies to your situation.

Protections Against Race/Color Discrimination

Arizona law and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of race or color. Racial discrimination includes unfavorable treatment of a person based on his or her race or characteristics associated with race-like facial features, skin color or hair texture.

Some prohibited forms of racial discrimination include:

Pre-Employment Inquiries

Employers are not allowed to use an applicant’s race or color for consideration during the hiring process.

Although employers are not necessarily excluded from asking about an applicant’s criminal history, they must follow the federal nondiscrimination requirements to protect against causing disparate impact based on these inquiries.

Recruiting, Hiring and Advancement

Qualifications for jobs must be neutral in nature and equally applied to candidates regardless of their race.

However, policies that exclude people from certain races or people of color may be considered unlawful even if they are consistently applied. The policy is illegal if it is racially discriminatory or if the policy has a disparate impact on people of specific racial groups even if there was no discriminatory intent.

Potential forms of racial discrimination at this stage in the employment process include:

  • Soliciting applications only from in-house referrals ”“ If the current workforce is racially homogenous, referrals are likely to result in a similar un-diverse applicant pool.
  • Requiring specific educational backgrounds ”“ If a higher level of education is not pertinent to job performance or the needs of the business, this may be a discriminatory requirement.
  • Testing applicants in a way that is not based on business need ”“ Some tests result in disparate scores for people of certain racial groups.

Compensation and Other Terms of Employment

It is also considered racial discrimination when a person’s race is the basis for the terms or conditions of employment. These terms and conditions include such factors as the employee’s:

  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Bonus structure
  • Performance evaluations
  • Training
  • Work assignments
  • Disciplinary actions

Classification of Employees

Employees should not be segregated by race or color by physically isolating them from other employees or customers. Employers should also provide equal opportunities for minority employees to advance to higher positions with additional responsibilities and higher pay.

Additionally, employers cannot intentionally assign primarily minority employees to predominantly minority locations because of the employee’s race or ethnicity.


Employees have a right to work in an environment in which they are not harassed because of their race or color. Examples of illegal harassment includes:

  • Offensive or derogatory comments about a person’s race or color
  • Racial jokes
  • Racial slurs
  • Racially offensive symbols

The law does not prohibit simple teasing or an isolated comment. Instead, harassment is illegal if it is so frequent or severe that it creates an intimidating or hostile work environment or gets in the way of the employee’s ability to perform his or her job.

How to File a Discrimination Claim

To report racial discrimination, you can file a claim with the Civil Rights Division of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office within 180 days of when the discriminatory act occurred. To complete the claims process, you must fill out the online questionnaire and provide details about the type of discrimination that you experienced.

Alternatively, you can file a Charge of Discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You can also file a Charge of Discrimination on behalf of another person to protect his or her identity from an employer’s retaliation.

How a Phoenix Employment Lawyer Can Help

At the Phillips Law Group, we believe all workplaces should provide equal opportunities and environments where employees are free from discrimination and harassment.

Our employment lawyers in Phoenix are knowledgeable about all aspects of employment law. We can discuss your legal options regarding filing a claim based on racial discrimination during a confidential consultation to find out if you have a case.

Call 602-222-2222 for a free consultation. No fees to start your case and no fees unless we win your case.