It is hard to believe, but some employees still experience racial discrimination in the workplace in spite of the protections of the Civil Rights Act, which was passed more than half a century ago.
Some employees are even terminated because of racial discrimination. Has this happened to you?
About Title VII
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides protection against employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex or religion. This means that the race or color of an employee cannot be used against him or her in terms of hiring, job training, promotion, compensation or termination.
Judging your abilities
Perhaps you were getting along well in your job until a new manager was hired. You were the only African American among front-office staff who greeted and took care of customers. Little by little, the new manager began giving your responsibilities to others, saying you did not have all the necessary skills for the position. In time, he accused you of not doing your job and finally terminated you. Keep in mind that Title VII also prohibits someone from making employment decisions about an employee's abilities because of racial bias.
The Missouri statute
In the state of Missouri, the "service letter" statute allows you to request an explanation of the reasons for your termination. Your employer must then provide a written response describing, among other details, the nature of your work, the length of time you were employed with the company and the reasons for your discharge.
Opening an investigation
If you suspect that racial discrimination was behind your firing, one option is to seek legal assistance. An investigation would begin with the service letter response, which must be signed by the appropriate company representative. It might continue with a review of your employment records and the gathering of recollections from coworkers about your job performance. You may be entitled to reinstatement, back pay and other types of compensation. Title VII gives protection to everyone of every color or nationality, and no one should have to experience discrimination.