Did the Color of My Skin Prevent Me from Getting a Job?

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When interviewing for a job, arriving on time, being well-dressed, and prepared with resume in hand is the minimum of what it takes to land an employment opportunity. Being objectively qualified and knocking the interview out of the park dramatically increases the chances of getting hired, but it’s still no guarantee.

When this happens over and over again to no ultimate avail, or when a slam dunk situation is derailed after the first in-person meeting, something else might be going on.

Unfortunately, the reason for otherwise qualified candidates may be discrimination.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, hiring discrimination involves treating an applicant unfavorably because of their race or ethnicity, or any personal characteristics associated with their race or ethnicity. The EEOC further defines color discrimination as treating someone unfavorably because of their skin color complexion.

Unfortunately, businesses and hiring managers of the same race or skin color can be guilty of hiring discrimination. This is usually because they want their customers to interface with employees of certain appearances.

What can you do if you are facing this challenge right now?

First, it’s important to recognize that race and color discrimination, as well as any other type based on immutable physical characteristics, is categorically illegal. Numerous state and federal laws expressly prohibit it. Sometimes it’s clear when race or color discrimination has occurred. Other times, it can be difficult to know for sure and even harder to prove.

One way to begin to understand if this is happening is to pay attention to certain questions throughout the hiring process. Is your skin color mentioned in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable? Were there subtle slurs or comments that made you uncomfortable? How was the company culture described in a way that felt exclusionary?

Although comments can be made, it is when company representatives use that information against you and deny an employment opportunity because of your physical appearance that it becomes illegal discrimination.

If you believe you have been wrongfully denied a job based on your skin color, and there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate your claim, do not wait to contact an employment attorney.

A successful claim will need to meet several bars including, but not limited to, you must be in a protected class, you’ll have to have been qualified for the job and then denied the job, and the company will have needed to hire someone with similar qualifications but of a different race or ethnicity.

Do you have more questions today? Were you recently turned down for a job you are qualified for? Do not wait to contact us to schedule a meeting with a member of our local, experienced employment discrimination team.