In a state as diverse as Mississippi, it’s troubling to think that racial discrimination is still a reality in the workplace. Unfortunately, recent lawsuits filed against major corporations in the state paint a very different picture. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was created to protect Americans from such horrid practices. Hence, you can file a lawsuit against your employer in case they violate your rights.
Your constitutional rights as an employee in Mississippi
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from intentional discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion or national origin, as well as practices that can make someone feel discriminated against. If an employer violates this law, the court can order them to pay back wages, attorney fees, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
You should also know that Mississippi is an “at-will” employment state. This means that, unless you have a contract specifying otherwise, your employer can fire you at any time without notice or cause, as long as this termination is lawful.
The reality of racial discrimination in Mississippi
While it is against the law to discriminate against someone based on their race, this does not mean that it does not happen. For example, a recent EEOC case against Danny’s Of Jackson, LLC in Mississippi federal court returned a verdict in favor of the five black dancers that were egregiously discriminated against. The verdict included compensatory damages to a tune of $1.68 million, $1.5 million in punitive damages and $130,550 in backpay.
If you suspect discrimination
If you think that you have been the victim of racial discrimination at work, the first thing you should do is gather as much evidence as possible. This includes keeping a record of any discriminatory comments made by your employer or co-workers, as well as dates and times when this occurred. If possible, try to get witnesses who can corroborate your story.
Next, file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC is responsible for investigating claims of discrimination, and they will determine whether or not your case has merit. If they find that discrimination did occur, they may file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Racial discrimination in the workplace is a reality that no one should have to face. The law can be a powerful weapon to stop such vile acts.