Racial Discrimination in North Carolina


Area of Law: 

Racial discrimination in the workplace still happens in North Carolina in spite of an increasing number of laws being put in place to help make the workplace fair and equal for everyone.  In order to put a stop to discrimination on the basis of skin color or ethnic background, it is important to be diligent in your awareness of what racial discrimination actually is and what can be done about it when you think you have been discriminated against.  Many cases of discrimination go unreported either because the worker is afraid of job loss or because the thought of having to confront the issue in a public forum can be intimidating.


In North Carolina, it is illegal to make a discriminatory employment decision based on skin color or national origin.  If you feel your workplace has acted in violation of this law, you can file a complaint either at the state or federal level.  At the state level, it is simply a matter of obtaining legal counsel and proceeding with your court case.  At the federal level, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission needs to be contacted before any action can be taken.  There are three EEOC offices in North Carolina. They are located in: Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh.  You do not have to contact the office closest to you; however, it may refer you to another location if it feels it is appropriate.


The EEOC requires that you file your complaint within 180 days of the date of the discriminatory act. In cases where you have been fired or been declined a position due to your race, the date can be more clear cut, but dates can be more complicated to calculate if the discrimination is of a general nature and you have been subjected to a hostile, racist work environment off and on for quite some time.  This is why it is important that you contact the EEOC as soon as possible when you feel you have a racial discrimination claim to file.


Knowing if your case is likely to result in a judgment in your favor can be tricky.  Discrimination can refer to many things and can range from blatant practices, like inequality of wages, to other practices, like harassment in the work environment.  By law, your workplace is required to display a poster or other notice informing all employees of their rights and responsibilities under EEOC regulations. Making yourself familiar with the contents of this notice can help you understand exactly what your rights are and if you have a racial discrimination case that needs to be reported.  It may be disheartening that these processes are still needed in this day and age, but with due vigilance, instances of racial discrimination can be reduced in frequency.