Racial discrimination at work: Do you have a case?

Racial discrimination can occur in various ways in the workplace. You may have legal recourse if you experience unfair treatment at work based on your race, skin color, hair type or facial features.

Identifying discrimination cases requires adequate knowledge of Arizona laws. There are four primary kinds of racial discrimination in the workplace.


Experiencing offensive or degrading events at work has no justification. Depending on the circumstance, you may have a legal claim against your employer or the harasser. Some examples of harassment include:

•        Sharing prejudiced cartoons or memes

•        Singing racist songs

•        Making racially insensitive jokes or gestures

•        Using racial slurs

•        Having racist objects or materials

Indirect discrimination

It is illegal for an employer to have a policy or system that puts people of a specific race, religion or skin color at a disadvantage.

•        Banning certain hairstyles

•        Requiring specific height requirements that are irrelevant to the job duties

•        Forbidding hair coverings

Direct racial discrimination

This kind of discrimination happens when you receive less favorable treatment or circumstances because of your race. If you miss out on opportunities because your employer feels you will not fit in or that clients may object, you may be a victim of discrimination.


Experiencing racial slurs, poor treatment, or other harassment resulting from your complaints about race-related discrimination is victimization. This behavior is discrimination whether you filed a complaint on behalf of yourself or another co-worker.


If you feel you are encountering racial discrimination in the workplace, you have the legal right to file a claim. A thorough understanding of the laws in the state of Arizona helps achieve your desired outcome.