Race/National Origin Discrimination

Employment Attorneys Advocating for Chicago Workers

Employment discrimination, retaliatory actions, and workplace harassment violate federal and state laws. Nevertheless, these illegal acts continue to take place throughout Illinois workplaces. All employees have a right to work in an environment free from discrimination and harassment. Employers may not fire you or refuse to hire you based on characteristics such as national origin, race, religion, gender, disability, or age. At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, our Chicago race discrimination lawyers represent workers in employment claims. As an AV-rated law firm, we take pride in our reputation as ethical and skilled employment discrimination attorneys.

Protect Your Legal Rights Through a Race Discrimination Claim

Employment discrimination laws regarding race and national origin, as well as other “protected classes,” are set forth under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While “ethnicity” is not specifically listed in Title VII, it is generally considered to be protected under Title VII. An adverse employment action against an employee based on their race or national origin may include recruitment, hiring, firing, training, or other areas, such as promotions and salaries.

Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, it is illegal for employers to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, and other characteristics. There are remedies for employees who suffer from illegal discriminatory acts by their employers. These may include economic damages, such as back and front pay, as well as non-economic damages for emotional distress.

National origin discrimination involves treating employees unfavorably because they are or appear to be from a particular country or ethnic group. Race discrimination may involve not just the color of an individual's skin but also traits like their hair texture and facial features. Discrimination based on national origin and race does not only exist when the perpetrator and victim are of different races. It may even take place when both share the same race or national origin.

The two theories for proving race or national origin discrimination are disparate treatment and disparate impact. Disparate treatment may exist when employers treat employees differently based on their race or national origin. There is, in most situations, an intent to discriminate in disparate treatment cases.

To begin a disparate treatment lawsuit after an adverse hiring decision, for example, a plaintiff would need to show that they are a member of a protected class, they were qualified for the job and applied for the job, they were rejected from the job, and the position remained open after the rejection. An example of disparate treatment would be an employer refusing to hire someone due to their foreign accent, even though it does not interfere with their work performance.

In some circumstances, the employer may act in a seemingly neutral manner, but their actions may have a disparate impact. An example would be a workplace policy that affects only employees of a certain race or national origin, such as a policy that prevents employees from covering their heads. This employment action would likely have a disparate impact upon employees who wear turbans or hijabs. If this rule is job-related and based on a legitimate business need, it may not be deemed discriminatory. However, an employee pursuing a disparate impact claim may prevail if they can show that an alternative policy would satisfy the same business need but not have such a disproportionate impact.

Harassment is also a prohibited employment action. Employees who have been subject to this type of conduct would need to show that they experienced unwelcome conduct based on their race or national origin. If enduring the behavior is a condition of continued employment, it is unlawful. This is because it creates a hostile work environment. Additionally, if the conduct is severe and pervasive, creating a work environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile, or abusive, it is also unlawful.

Harassment does not require that the target have suffered economic harm. If the conduct is offensive, and others at the workplace are affected, even if they are not the targets of the behavior, they may be able to bring a valid complaint. Harassers may be coworkers, supervisors, or the employer’s clients.

Contact a Race Discrimination Lawyer in the Chicago Area

Employment discrimination involving race or national origin combines complex federal and state laws with sensitive emotional issues. At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, our Chicago race discrimination attorneys bring personalized attention and dedication to protecting the rights of our clients. We also represent employees in Aurora, Springfield, Champaign, Rockford, and Quincy, as well as other communities in Cook, Kane, Sangamon, Champaign, Winnebago, and Adams Counties. We can be reached at (312) 263-6330 or through our online form for a free consultation. Our firm also can assist employees who need an age, disability, gender, religion, or sexual orientation discrimination attorney to assert their rights.