Color discrimination is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”). Under Title VII, no employer with 15 or more employees may discriminate against a person on the basis of their color.
Employees seeking to bring a charge of color discrimination must file a charge with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) within 180 days of the discriminatory action. The EEOC will investigate the charge and determine whether they are able to prove that discrimination occurred.
Color discrimination is also prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (also known as “Section 1981”). Section 1981 does not impose a minimum number of employees; an employer of any size can be liable for color discrimination under Section 1981. Employees bringing an action based on Section 1981 must do so within four years of the discriminatory incident, and may file their case directly with the court.
North Carolina public policy also prohibits color discrimination by employers with 15 or more employees. A lawsuit filed under North Carolina public policy must be filed within three years of the discriminatory act.
What Employment Actions are Covered?
Title VII, Section 1981, and North Carolina public policy prohibit color discrimination in most aspects of employment, including:
- hiring and firing;
- compensation, assignment, or classification of employees;
- transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall;
- job advertisements;
- use of company facilities;
- training and apprenticeship programs;
- fringe benefits;
- pay, retirement plans, and disability leave; or
- other terms and conditions of employment.
What Can Victims of Color Discrimination Recover?
Victims of color discrimination can recover a wide range of remedies, mostly designed to make them “whole.” These remedies include:
- back pay;
- front pay; and
- other remedies to make the victim “whole.”
Victims may also recover attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, court costs, and punitive damages.
For answers to your color discrimination questions and to set up a consultation, call a Hensel Law attorney today at (336) 218-6466.