Area of Law:
Federal Civil Rights law protects every employee in the U.S. from being discriminated against on the basis of race, color, or ethnic origin, but in the state of Kansas, there are also state laws that supplement the federal discrimination laws. Of course, this does not mean that discrimination doesn't occur anymore. It is an unfortunate fact that racial discrimination still does happen in the workplace, but with the various laws in place, at least there are several avenues of recourse if an employee feels that he or she has been the victim of workplace racial discrimination.
Both the Kansas Act Against Discrimination and the federal Civil Rights Act ensure that your rights can be defended if you have been discriminated against because of your skin color or race. In Kansas, you can file a complaint at the state level with the Kansas Human Rights Commission (KHRC), or at the federal level with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Not only does the KHRC accept complaints to be considered as court cases, it also helps mediate cases where it feels the situation does not necessarily have to end up in court. If for some reason the mediation process isn't successful, then the complaint may be subjected to a more in-depth investigation.
If your case falls outside of the KHRC's jurisdiction, it may be sent to the EEOC for its consideration. The EEOC deals with federal cases and its investigator will determine whether or not you can be given the right to sue in court. The EEOC does operate within a statute of limitations, however. In other words, you cannot decide to file a complaint and try to sue an ex-employer whom you feel discriminated against you several years ago. The EEOC's statute of limitations is 180 days from the time of the discriminatory incident in question. If you do not file your complaint with the EEOC within that time frame, your claim will not be valid.
Sometimes people either delay in filing a complaint or don't file one at all because they are worried about retaliation from their employer or company. You may be concerned that you will get demoted, receive a pay cut, be harassed at work, or even be fired for standing up for your civil rights. Luckily however, under federal law your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you in any way for filing a discrimination complaint. Even in a case where your complaint is found to be unwarranted and is eventually dismissed, you still cannot be retaliated against. Doing so is a serious violation in and of itself, and your employer would face serious consequences.
Both Kansas law and federal law are very protective of employees' rights, so you should feel confident in coming forward if you have either been discriminated against or asked to participate in policies or practices that you feel would illegally discriminate against other employees. The more people who report these types of incidents, the sooner workplace racial discrimination can be eradicated.