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Race Discrimination and Harassment

Representing Employees Against Race-Based Discrimination in Maine

Racial discrimination in the workplace is an insidious anachronism that unfortunately still exists. Maine and U.S. laws protect workers in today’s society from unlawful discrimination based on race. Since 1994, the racial discrimination attorneys of the Maine Employee Rights Group have fought employers who engage in this horrible practice. If you have been the victim of unlawful racial discrimination at work, we can help you.

Racial Discrimination by Employers Is Illegal

Racial discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee or potential employee differently or less favorably on account of the person’s race. Other related forms of unlawful discrimination may be based on color, national origin or ethnicity. Refusing to hire people of a certain race, denying promotions to an employee because of his or her race, or paying members of a particular ethnic group less than others are all examples of illegal race-based discrimination.

The other typical form of racial discrimination is racial harassment, often called hostile work environment discrimination. As the name implies, this form of discrimination occurs when an employer or co-worker creates an environment that is hostile, offensive, or intimidating. The method by which they do this can be verbal or written.

Some examples of behavior that may create a hostile work environment include:

  • Racially insensitive jokes or comments, delivered verbally or through email;
  • Offensive emails or text messages;
  • Use of racial slurs;
  • Inappropriate comments concerning a specific employee’s race or race in general.

There are countless ways in which a hostile work environment may exist. If you are unsure as to whether you have encountered unlawful racial discrimination, contact an experienced employment attorney.

U.S. and Maine Laws Protect Workers from Racial Discrimination

There are two primary laws that prohibit unlawful racial discrimination in the workplace. About 50 years ago, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, national origin, ethnicity, and other personal traits. This is the main federal law that protects U.S. workers from employment discrimination based on race.

The Maine Human Rights Act protects workers across the state from many of the same discriminatory tactics as the Civil Rights Act. The Fair Employment provisions of the Maine law also prohibits discrimination based on ancestry, in addition to race, color, and national origin.

Victims of Discrimination May Seek Damages

Employers who unlawfully discriminate against their employees may be liable for damages. Plaintiffs who file a successful lawsuit can be entitled to compensatory damages for their financial and emotional injuries. Some plaintiffs may also be entitled to punitive damages.

In order to file a lawsuit in federal court alleging a violation of the Civil Rights Act or the Maine Human Rights Act, the employee must first clear certain procedural hurdles. Ask an experienced lawyer for help with filing a claim for racial discrimination.

Trust Your Case to Experienced Attorneys

You do not have to tolerate racial discrimination or harassment in the workplace. The employment discrimination lawyers of the Maine Employee Rights Group have a deep understanding of the state and federal laws that protect employees. We help victims of unlawful racial discrimination from Portland, Bangor, and throughout Maine. Call 207.874.0905 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.