When hiring new employees, companies must not take into consideration certain personal traits of those who apply. This legal requirement ensures that the hiring process does not discriminate against people based on age, gender, race or other innate characteristics. Work experience and ability should be the deciding factors when it comes to the selection of employees.

Race-based discrimination

Companies don’t always adhere to their legal duty, however. Recently in California, the Marquez Brothers company was found to have violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EOEC), a federal agency, found that the company had shown preference for Hispanic applicants when hiring. They also actively discriminated against black, white and Asian people who applied for positions.

Two African-American men who had sought jobs at the company raised the alarm. One was passed over for a position, which Marquez Brothers gave to a less-qualified candidate. The company refused to even provide application papers to the other.

Because of their actions, Marquez Brothers will be settling with the EOEC for a total of $2 million. Companies who discriminate against employees or applicants are at risk of receiving significant fines and must compensate victims of their unfair practices. Workplace discrimination can be a stressful, embarrassing ordeal to go through.

Spotting racial discrimination at work

It is not always obvious when racial discrimination is taking place. If you’re worried that it may be happening where you work, look for signs that coworkers treat those of a specific ethnicity or race differently than others. Racial discrimination could impact the way people speak to them, the job opportunities they receive (or don’t receive) and how people treat them.