Native Americans are often the target of racial discrimination in the workplace. If you’re currently experiencing racial discrimination because you are indigenous you should know that you a legal right to work without being discriminated against or harassed. Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act says that employers can’t discriminate against employees because of their race, color, sex, place of birth, or religion. If you’re a victim of racial discrimination at work you have the right to file a complaint against your employer with the EEOC, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
When you file a complaint with the EEOC your state may also be notified of the complaint so that they can launch a state investigation. The EEOC has an agreement with the labor authorities in 44 states to share information. If you work in one of those 44 states the state will get copies of your complaint and any evidence supporting your claim that you submit to the EEOC. Most states have their own laws about discrimination and your employer could be violating state law as well as Federal law.
What Are Examples of Racial Discrimination?
Discrimination against Native Americans in the workplace often looks like:
Being Passed Over For Raises Or Promotions
If you are doing satisfactory work it’s normal to expect to get raises at regular intervals and promotions as well. But if your coworkers are getting promotions and raises and you’re not that’s probably discrimination.
Getting Hours Cut Or Not Getting Enough Shifts
If you were promised a set number of hours when you started working but you are not getting that amount of hours, or if yours have been cut so that someone else could work more hours that’s discrimination.
Racial slurs, offensive imagery, or racially charged language
Bullying and harassment are always discrimination. There is no gray area when it comes to bullying and harassment. If your boss or coworkers are using racial slurs, promoting offensive stereotypes, bullying you, or excluding you from work related events like meetings that’s discrimination.
Paying some employees less than others
If you’re doing the same work that your coworkers are doing you should be paid the same amount that they are. If your pay is significantly lower that’s discrimination.
Next Steps to Take
When you experience discrimination at work it’s important that you document it so that you have proof of what is happening to you. Try to remember to make copies of documents, screenshot group chats or instant messages, print out emails, and take photos and videos of any bullying or harassment. You should also write down a short summary of each incident that occurs including the date and who was involved. Take all of that information including your evidence to the HR department or to your supervisor and tell them that you are being discriminated against and that it’s illegal. They should take action to help you. But if they don’t help you or if they dismiss your experiences and tell you that you’re not being discriminated against then go right over their heads.
Go to the EEOC’s website and file an official complaint
You can also file a complaint on the state level too. In Oregon, you can file a discrimination complaint with Oregon’s Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI). When you file a discrimination complaint on the state level in Oregon, It will be dual filed with the EEOC, that way you don’t have to file two complaints.
Remedies for Racial Discrimination
If you were denied a raise or a promotion you could receive a lump sum of money for back wages. You also could receive a lump sum payment for emotional anguish if you were bullied and harassed at work.