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What do I do if I am experiencing racial discrimination?

That depends much on what your particular situation is. If you work at a big company, for example, most large companies have well developed human resource departments and policies and procedures on how to complain about race discrimination. If you feel that you’re the victim, you should go and report it to your HR department or whoever your employer directs you to report those things to.

I know people are always concerned about that because they say to me frequently, “Well, I don’t want to lose my job.” That is a always a danger. It’s illegal to retaliate against someone for reporting, in this case, racial discrimination or reporting any kind of illegal conduct. Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself. There are many occasions where, if you don’t report it and give the company the opportunity to do the right thing, the law will not allow your claim to proceed.

There are exceptions to all of that, and so one of the first things I would do if I was faced with a situation where I felt like I was being discriminated against, is I would go see an experienced employment law attorney who could advise you on the best way to proceed. Another thing that you’re going to have to do if you have a claim under title seven, a federal claim, is you’re going to have to report that to the EEOC, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

You should have an attorney help you draft whatever filing you make with the EEOC if possible, because there’s certain legal requirements and frankly, certain things you want to leave out from kind of a practical advocacy standpoint, and some other things you want to put in from a practical advocacy standpoint. A good lawyer will know how to best present your claim to be persuasive to the EEOC and to be persuasive to what other fact finder might be evaluating your claim, whether it’s a court, a judge, a jury, or even the other side, their lawyer or their decision maker who is going to review your situation, you want to make sure you present your claim so that they will understand the liability that they have and want to correct the problem by settling the case with you or otherwise resolving the case with you early before everybody has to spend a lot of time and money in court.

That’s the first thing you want to do, is you want to report it to the right person. You want to stand up for yourself if possible, and you want to document what is going on. Keep a binder where you keep it all in one place and maybe write down things as they happen so that you can remember it later on. Documentation is very, very important. Once you’ve done all of those things, then an employment law attorney can help advise you then on how to present your claim to your employer or advise you whether or not you need to just go right to filing a lawsuit or filing an administrative claim.

If you work for the government, then there are all sorts of decisions you have to make within their internal EEO process, and that’s really the same whether it’s a federal agency or state agency or a local agency, they all have their own processes and there I really would advise you to go see a lawyer, because oftentimes there are choices that you can make within those procedures and some choices are better than others, and some choices have pros and cons and a lawyer can kind of explain to you the pros and cons and you can make a decision on what’s the best way to go for you.

*This is a transcript of the Facebook Live video from 7-26-18  Click here to watch the video.

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