Many facets of American law – such as Title VI – protect individuals from racial discrimination, and give them recourses should intentional discrimination occur. For example, if your employer wrongfully terminates you or otherwise disadvantages you based on your race or national origin, you have the option of bringing a discrimination lawsuit against them to vindicate your rights. But what would your attorney have to prove in order to be successful in such a lawsuit?
The Arlington Heights mosaic of factors
There are a number of analytical frameworks that courts and investigative agencies use to determine whether a particular instance constitutes racial discrimination in the workplace. One of these, the Arlington Heights mosaic of factors, is helpful for revealing discrimination against a group of employees based on their race or national origin.
This framework allows courts to examine circumstantial evidence that, by itself, may not be conclusive, but that could prove a trend of discrimination when taken in the aggregate. This means that the Arlington Heights mosaic of factors might assist a court in examining a company policy or program that has a disparate impact on one particular group of employees primarily due to their race or national origin.
What you must prove
The law does not prohibit employers from demoting, firing, failing to promote or otherwise disciplining employees, as long as the justification for such action was not based on a constitutionally protected characteristic – such as race or national origin.
Thus, in order to be successful in your lawsuit, your attorney will have to present evidence that shows that the primary motivation of your employer’s actions was your race, and not your work performance, output, behavior or other factors.
No one should have to suffer the effects of workplace discrimination due to their immutable characteristics. Fortunately, the judicial system provides recourses for those affected by discrimination while on the job.