Racial harassment occurs when a person or group repeatedly uses discriminatory remarks, behavior or practices to show racial intolerance against a coworker or their color, descent, culture, language or religion. Examples include:
- Making jokes, insinuations, humiliating comments or racially oriented remarks.
- Criticizing and being intolerant in regards to the victim’s differences: his or her accent, clothing, hairdo, customs and beliefs.
- Acting seemingly disgusted or showing contempt in the victim’s presence.
- Finding excuses for not working with the victim.
- Stereotyping the victim with subordinate tasks or case-loads.
- Trying to hinder or stop the victim’s chances for a promotion.
- Showing comic strips, pictures or images that are racially degrading.
Racial slurs may constitute harassment even if made by one member to another member of the same race.
Like sexual harassment, you can prove racial harassment with evidence that you were subjected to offensive comments or other abusive conduct that were clearly based on your race or ethnicity and were sufficiently “severe” or “pervasive” to alter the conditions of your employment. To prove a racial harassment claim, you must show a “concerted pattern of harassment of a repeated, routine or a generalized nature” and that the alleged conduct constituted an “ unreasonably abusive or offensive work-related environment or adversely affected your ability to do your job.” Work-related incidents which you become aware of may create a hostile environment even if you are on leave of absence from work when the incidents occurred. Occasional or trivial acts of racism are usually not enough to alter the conditions of employment and create a hostile environment. A hostile environment may exist even if some of the hostility is directed at other workers.
The law also prohibits harassment of an individual because of his association with someone of a particular race or ethnicity.
Not only is sexual harassment illegal. The law also prohibits:
- Racial harassment
- Religious harassment
- Age-based harassment
- Harassment based on disability
- Harassment based on ethnicity or national origin
Most people are familiar with workplace sexual harassment claims. Harassment in professional, business, and educational relationships are also illegal.