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How does racial discrimination differ from color discrimination?

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2021 | Discrimination |

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination in the workplace based on several protected categories, including race and color. Employees in New Jersey and New York City may be confused about the difference between racial discrimination and discrimination based on color. The following is a brief overview of the difference between racial discrimination and color discrimination in the workplace.

What is racial discrimination?

Under Title VII, employers cannot hire, fire, fail to promote, discriminate in compensation, discriminate in job training or discriminate in any other aspect of employment based on stereotypes and assumptions about the abilities, traits or job performance of a worker due to the worker’s race. In addition, equal employment opportunity cannot be negatively affected due to a worker marriage to a person of a different race, if a worker is involved in an ethnic based organization, if a worker attends places of worship associated with minority groups or other cultural practices and characteristics associated with race or ethnicity as long as these factors do not materially interfere with the employee’s ability to do their job.

What is color discrimination?

While there are some similarities between racial discrimination and color discrimination, these terms cannot be interchanged with one another. Color discrimination can take place between both workers of different races or ethnicities and workers who share the same race or ethnicity. Color is defined under common law as a person’s pigmentation, complexion or skin shade.

Learn more about employee rights

Ultimately, everyone deserves to be treated fairly in the workplace and should not have to face racial or color discrimination. Unfortunately, discrimination in the workplace does occur, so it is important that workers understand their rights in such circumstances. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s webpage on employee rights may be of interest to those who want further information on this topic.