What Constitutes Race-Based Harassment in the Workplace?

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If you work in the state of New Jersey, your employer must promote company policies that apply to every employee, regardless of race, color, or otherwise. At the same time, such policies must promote a work environment that is free of any race-based discrimination or otherwise any harmful behavior against employees of protected classes. Continue reading to learn what actions might constitute race-based harassment in the workplace and how an experienced employment discrimination attorney in Gloucester County, NJ, at The Vigilante Law Firm, P.C., can help you rectify such behaviors.

What is the recent amendment to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination?

In its general sense, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) prohibits discrimination and harassment based on an actual or perceived protected characteristic in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation. Namely, this law primarily applies to actual or perceived race.

In recent years, the NJLAD has been amended to include the Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act (CROWN Act). The CROWN Act further prohibits race-based discrimination in the workplace based on traits historically associated with race, such as hair texture, hair type, protective hairstyles (i.e., braids, locks, and twists), etc.

What actions might constitute race-based harassment in the workplace?

Besides hair texture, type, and style, there are unfortunately many other ways in which an employer, manager, coworker, vendor, client, etc. might discriminate against an employee based on their race. Without further ado, actions that might constitute race-based harassment in the workplace include the following:

  • Directing racial slurs, jokes, or comments at an employee.
  • Posting racially offensive cartoons, drawings, or symbols in communal workspaces.
  • Isolating an employee from emails, meetings, or otherwise social gatherings outside of work hours.
  • Enforcing punishments on an employee for their facial hair, which is associated with their race yet unrelated to their job.

What happens when I report this race-based harassment?

If you have been made the subject of any actions of race-based harassment mentioned above, then you must report it to New Jersey State’s Division of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EEO/AA). From here, the EEO/AA may conduct a formal investigation against your employer and the overall workplace. Ultimately, it may attempt to settle your incident or file a lawsuit on your behalf.

With this, you may rest easier knowing that your complaint and the subsequent investigations will be handled confidentially. Further, it is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for filing a complaint or otherwise participating in an investigation. This is all to say that your fears must not deter you from attaining justice in this situation.

When reporting this race-based harassment, there is no one other than one of the skilled New Jersey employment lawyers to have in your corner. So please get in touch with us at The Vigilante Law Firm, P.C. today.

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