Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), prohibit discrimination based on race, nationality, and skin color. These laws also make it illegal for employers to discriminate based on an individual’s sincerely held religious beliefs. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs, as long as doing so does not impose an undue hardship on the employer.
Individuals may experience racial discrimination and religious discrimination in many different ways. This discrimination may occur directly as a result of stereotyping, prejudice and bias. It may also occur more subtly in the form of differential treatment.
Examples of racial and religious discrimination include:
- Failure to hire, train, mentor or promote an individual based on race or religion
- Blaming an individual for workplace accidents, errors, or mistakes because of the individual’s race or religion
- Perpetrating misconceptions about an individual because of the individual’s race or religion
- Suggesting “preferred” individuals for employment positions or promotions because of race or religion (promoting one race or religion over another)
- Paying equally-qualified employees in the same position different salaries because of race or religion
- Being denied a position on the basis of race or religion
- Being treated noticeably different with respect to the conditions and benefits of employment because of the individual’s race or religion
- Being treated noticeably different than other employees because of the individual’s disability
- Preventing you from having contact with clients because of your skin color or religious attire (such as a burqa, turban, or yarmulke)
Hostile Work Environment Based on Race Title VII and the NJLAD do not protect employees from all teasing or offensive conduct. These laws protect employees from conduct based on race that is so severe or pervasive that it creates an abusive, hostile, or intimidating work environment. The conduct must be motivated by discrimination or retaliation and must also be so objectively offensive as to alter the conditions of employment. An employer’s liability for racial harassment and discrimination in the workplace depends upon the role of the person or persons engaging in the illegal conduct. An employer’s liability for the conduct of a supervisor may exist if the employer negligently or recklessly failed to have an explicit policy that bans racial harassment which provides an effective procedure for the prompt investigation and remediation for such claims. When a non-supervisory employee is responsible for the harassment, the employer can be held liable only if the employer either knew or should have known about the offensive conduct and failed to take any corrective action. If severe enough, a single word or incident may create an actionable hostile work environment claim. In hostile work environment cases, the proper legal standard is whether the objectionable conduct in question is “severe or pervasive.” In a discrimination action based on hostile work environment, available remedies may include reinstatement, back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages, The specific remedies available in a particular case depends on the facts of the case and the damages the employee has suffered.
If your employer has discriminated against you on the basis of your race or religion, do not hesitate to contact us. We will fiercely and effectively fight for you. The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks PC is on the employee’s side. To assess your claims against your employer, please contact us by phone at (800) 406-8013 or via email.