Racial Discrimination in Minnesota Workplaces

Racial or minority discrimination, including discrimination based upon an individual’s membership in a particular ethnic group, can be manifested by harassing, hostile, or intimidating remarks or behavior, unequal opportunity in the hiring process, lower wages, fewer opportunities for promotion or more unfavorable working conditions. An example of race discrimination is the unequal application of employment practices, such as a situation where only minority applicants are subjected to background checks for criminal records or credit history. To avoid such problems, employers are urged to adopt anti-harassment policies, to diligently publicize them to employees and to enforce them. Employers should also apply discipline and other working policies uniformly and consciously extend work opportunities to minority group members, where they are qualified.

National origin discrimination involves many of the same issues, as well as issues involving language and the ability of the applicant or employee to communicate clearly with customers. Employers are encouraged to seek the advice of legal counsel before making employment decisions based upon language, in order to assure that an ability to clearly communicate in English is a bona fide occupational qualification.

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