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Color Discrimination

Color discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her skin color or complextion.  Color discrimination also can involve treating someone unfavorably because the person is married to (or associated with) a person of a certain  color or because of a person’s connection with an organization or group that is generally associated with people of a certain color.

Discrimination can occur when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are the same color.

Color Discrimination & Work Situations

The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

Color Discrimination & Harassment

It is unlawful to harass a person because of that person’s race or color.

Harassment can include, for example, racial slurs, offensive or derogatory remarks about a person's color. Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Color Discrimination & Employment Policies/Practices

An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of color, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on the employment of people of a particular color and is not job-related and necessary to the operation of the business.

Available Resources

SCHAC is providing access to the EEOC fact sheet to help employees and employers understand the complex issues surrounding color discrimination.