AP study finds racial discrimination in high-salary positions

Racial discrimination remains a problem in high-salary careers.

The Associated Press recently conducted an analysis of individuals in high-salary jobs. Their findings: blacks are chronically underrepresented. Data collected by the AP supported this finding in all fields including technology, business, science and engineering. Furthermore, a black worker was less likely to hold one of these prestigious jobs when compared to his or her white counterpart.

Structural discrimination is likely part of the problem. Structural discrimination refers to the fact that most predominately minority communities have substandard schools and fewer opportunities compared to white neighborhoods. Boardrooms tend to prefer the familiar and shy away from diversity. The AP analysis even claims that investors are less likely to support startups led by black entrepreneurs. Areas that seem to thrive with opportunities for those seeking a prestigious career like Boston, Silicon Valley, Seattle and New York all report racial disparities in these fields.

Racial discrimination: Illegal at both the federal and state levels

These realities are more than just unsettling - in many cases the actions that led to this disparity are illegal. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on his or her race. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states it is illegal to fail or refuse to hire or discharge any individual based on his or her race or color anywhere in the nation. These protections go beyond just the offer of employment. Discrimination from the promotion and training opportunities are also illegal.

Local protections are also available. New Mexico state law makes it illegal for an employer to refuse to hire, discharge, promote or otherwise discriminate in the form of compensation or employment privileges based on the individual's race or color.

Remedies after discrimination: Victims have options

Those who are the victim of racial discrimination have options. It is possible to hold the employer that violated these laws accountable for their actions. A victim can do so through a civil suit. Remedies are available and can include:

  • Reinstatement. An employer that fires an employee due to his or her race can be required to provide the victim a similar position as well as compensation for any missed pay.
  • Compensatory awards. An employer can be required to provide a monetary award to cover costs associated with searching for another job or medical costs if medical insurance coverage was lost as a result of the discriminatory action.
  • Punitive awards. The employer may also be forced to provide an additional monetary award above and beyond those outlined above. The purpose of this type of award is to further punish the employer for his or her wrongdoing.

An attorney can provide counsel during this matter, better ensuring you receive the maximum compensation and damages you are entitled for your loss.