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Racial Discrimination

Robb Bigelow is a Nashville racial discrimination lawyer who fights for the rights of employees who have been discriminated against due to their race. After graduating from Vanderbilt Law School and working for a federal judge for three years, Robb has over a decade of experience representing employees throughout Nashville and Middle Tennessee who have been discriminated against.

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s was not that long ago. As a Nashville racial discrimination lawyer, I know that we still have a long way to go. This is evident everywhere from the TV to the courthouse.

Everyday in America people still say and do racist things. Everyday people are discriminated against in the workplace because of their race. Management (from CEOs to supervisors) still say and do racially motivated things that are not only not right, but against the law. Many get away with it and are never challenged. Some are challenged by their employees, but not be experienced racial harassment lawyers. As such, it is not surprising that racial discrimination in the workplace is a huge problem.

It is against the law for a company or employer to discriminate against someone based on his or her race or because of racial stereotypes. This includes any term or condition of employment---such as hiring, firing, being laid-off, promotion, compensation, and job training.

Under Title VII it is illegal to not hire someone or discriminate against them with respect to their pay, terms and/or conditions of employment because of their race, color, religion, sex or national origin. In addition, employers cannot limit, segregate or classify employees or applicants by race, color, religion, sex or national origin so as to deprive them of employment opportunities or adversely affect their status as employees.

Signs of Racial Discrimination

In my experience as a Nashville racial discrimination attorney, the following situations are ones where both judges and juries alike recognize that racism has entered the workplace:

  • Use of the “N-word” or other such derogatory racists phrases
  • Racists “jokes”, text messages, phone calls or emails
  • Other racist actions such as use of a hanging noose or a Klan sign
  • Segregation of workers within a working environment based on race or ethnicity;
  • Job applications that ask for an applicant’s race.
Types of Racial Discrimination

There are two different types of racial discrimination:

  • Disparate Treatment Discrimination
    • Your employer cannot treat you less favorably because of your race. This can come in many forms. Some of the most common include refusing to hire, refusing to provide training, denying promotions, denying equal compensation and benefits, disciplining, and firing.

    • Your employer also cannot subject you or allow you to be subjected to harassment because of your race. Harassment based on race is any conduct that interferes with a person’s work performance, negatively affects a person’s employment opportunities, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. As previously noted, racist jokes, name-calling, threats, and other forms of mistreatment towards an employee because of his or her race are illegal if the behavior is so severe and pervasive that it changes the terms or conditions of a person’s employment.

    • Finally, federal law specifically prohibits disparate treatment on the basis of race in the making and enforcement of employment contracts.

  • Disparate Impact Discrimination
    • Disparate impact discrimination occurs when an apparently objective policy has a disproportionately negative effect on members of one race, and the employer is unable to show that the policy is job-related and justified by business necessity. In other words, while disparate treatment is based on intent, disparate impact established liability for policies that are developed with little attention to the potential impact it can have on a protected group of people.


Federal, state, and local laws also prohibitretaliation against employees who oppose racial discrimination (such as by filing internal complaints,filing a charge with theEqual Employment Opportunity Commission, etc.). Retaliation may take any of the forms above, as well as any action that could stop a reasonable employee from making or supporting a charge of discrimination.

Let an experienced Nashville racial discrimination lawyer help you. Contact Bigelow Legal.