Both the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against employees based on race. Race discrimination involves treating an employee unfavorably because he/she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with race (e.g. hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features). Race discrimination also includes color discrimination, which involves treating someone unfavorably because of skin color or complexion.
Race or color discrimination is forbidden in all aspects of employment including hiring, firing, layoff, job assignments, pay, promotions, training, and any other term or condition of employment. Both intentional discrimination and neutral job policies that are not job-related, but lead to disproportionate and unfair exclusion of certain races or ethnicities are illegal.
Race Discrimination in Recruiting, Hiring and Advancement
Requirements for employment must be uniform and consistent regardless of race or color. Solicitations of race or color in the hiring process may be unlawful if used to exclude certain races or ethnicities significantly more than others. Nonetheless, not all pre-hiring questions of race or ethnic background are illegal. Employers may need this information for legitimate applications of affirmative action or to track applicant flow.
Harassment on the basis of a person's race or color is unlawful. Behavior that includes racial slurs, offensive or derogatory comments, racial "jokes," or any physical or verbal conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment can be considered unlawful racial harassment.