Rights of Employees
Color discrimination violates the law in both New Jersey and New York. In other words, it is a violation of your legal rights if your employer discriminates against you based on the color of your skin. For example, it is illegal for a company to fire you, chose not to hire you, or to harass you because you are Black, Brown, White, Yellow, Red or another skin color. Similarly, it is illegal for a company to demote you, pass you up for a promotion, suspend you, pay you a lower salary, or take another adverse employment action against you due to the color of your skin.
Color discrimination often (but not always) is related to race discrimination, national origin discrimination or both. For example, employers that discriminate against African-American or Hispanic employees often also discriminate against employees who are Black or have darker skin.Color Discrimination Is Not Always Black and White
Color discrimination also can occur between people who are members of the same race or who were born in the same country.
In some instances, companies treat employees less favorably based on their skin color in ways that have little or nothing to do with their race or national origin. For example, there is evidence that some African-Americans discriminate against other African-Americans based on the darkness or tone of their skin. Similarly, a supervisor or executive might treat a Latino employee who has darker skin worse than another Latino worker who has lighter skin or who is White. While these might not be race or national origin discrimination, they still are totally unacceptable and legally actionable behavior.
Discrimination because you are darker-skinned or lighter-skinned is just as illegal as any other type of color discrimination. This form of unlawful discrimination, which sometimes is referred to as “colorism” or “intra-race” color discrimination, is legally prohibited.Discrimination Because of Your Skin Color is Illegal
Your employer should judge you based on your skills, abilities and experience, rather than based on the complexion of your skin. That is why color discrimination and harassment violate the law in both New Jersey and New York.
If you have experience workplace discrimination, then the discrimination attorneys at our New Jersey employment law firm can help. You can call us at (201) 777-2250 to schedule a consultation so we can evaluate your case, explain your legal rights, discuss your options, and come up with a plan to enforce your legal rights.
Like all forms or unlawful discrimination, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("LAD") and the New York Human Rights Law ("NYHRL") prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who complained about color discrimination in the workplace. As a result, it would be illegal for a company to fire or otherwise retaliate against someone who makes a good faith complaint to a supervisor, human resources representative, or state or federal agency that their employer engaged in color discrimination.Contact an Employment Law Expert
You should not have to accept discriminatory treatment at your job. If you have been a victim of discrimination or harassment at your job based on your skin color, or for another unlawful reason, then you should contact one of our New Jersey discrimination lawyers at Rabner Baumgart Ben-Asher & Nirenberg, P.C.
You can contact us online, or you can call us in New Jersey at (201) 777-2250. Our main office is in Bergen County, New Jersey. For your convenience, we also offer remote consultations either via Zoom or telephone.