America is supposed to be the land of opportunity. They say if you put in the time and effort, you can lead a happy and financially stable life. However, if you’re a minority, your chances of upward mobility may look a little different. According to the American Bar Association, structural racism is still a common problem for many workers today.

Federal and state laws make it illegal for employers to discriminate based on race. However, dominant groups keep the deck stacked in their favor. They often do this by hiring, promoting and giving raises to their own kind, even if they’re not as qualified.

Racial workplace discrimination spans decades in the U.S.

Structural racism operates at a societal level. Unfortunately, this limits opportunities for many minorities, as white people hold a larger percentage of jobs and wages. Having this power also allows dominant groups to block access to resources that level the playing field.

The Jim Crow era exacerbated many of these issues. At the time, federal and some state governments created advantages specifically for white people and disadvantages for minorities, primarily African Americans. Jim Crow states allowed employers to screen out black workers or pay them substantially less just because of their skin color.

And while the days of Jim Crow are long gone, many of those limitations exist in other forms.

Examples of institutional racism in employment practices

Discrimination against minorities remains prevalent in the current U.S. labor market. According to a recent study, researchers randomly assigned resumes to employers; some had white-sounding names, others had black-sounding names. Results showed that white resumes received 50% more callbacks than black ones, despite each candidate displaying identical qualifications.

Hiring isn’t the only employment area minorities face this type of mistreatment. Here are a few other examples:

  • Paying minority employees less
  • Giving minority employees harsher performance reviews
  • Firing minority employees for minuscule mistakes
  • Scrutinizing minority employees more often than others
  • Micromanaging minority employees more than others

All workers should be treated equally under the law

Despite all the federal and state protections minority workers have, many still face mistreatment at work every day. Luckily, they can get the justice they deserve with a knowledgeable and professional employment law attorney.