Arizona Race Discrimination Law

Race discrimination in the employment context involves treating an employee (or a job applicant) unfavorably based on his or her race or because of personal characteristics that are commonly associated with his or her race. Such characteristics may include skin color, facial features or hair texture.

Claims for race discrimination may also arise from an employer's treating someone unfavorably because he or she is married to or otherwise associated with a person of a certain race or color. Such associations may include connection with a race-based group or organization or an association that is commonly associated with people of a certain race or color.

Types of Race Discrimination Prohibited in Arizona

In Arizona, race discrimination claims may arise under both Arizona and federal law. The law forbids discrimination in any aspect of employment, including decisions to hire, fire, promote, assign job duties, provide training, or provide certain benefits. 

It is also illegal to harass someone by making offensive remarks about a person's race or color, to make racial slurs, or to display racially offensive symbols. Employers may avoid liability by responding to complaints and ensuring that offensive conduct does not go beyond simple teasing or an isolated incident, but when harassment becomes so severe that an employee finds themselves working in a hostile work environment, a race discrimination claim may exist. 

Importantly, race discrimination can occur even when the victim and the person who inflicted the harassment or discrimination are the same race or color. A harasser can be the victim's manager, a co-worker, or even a client or customer.

Certain Employment Policies and Practices May Constitute Illegal Race Discrimination

Employers must also take care to ensure that their policies and practices do not give rise to a race discrimination claim. Even if a policy or practice applies to everyone, it can be illegal if it has a disparate negative impact on the employment of people of a certain race.

Making a Race Discrimination Claim in Arizona

Employees in Arizona who believe they may have a race discrimination claim should contact an Arizona employment attorney as soon as possible to discuss their claims. Because the time limitations for filing claims with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are relatively short, employees should also contact the EEOC to file a Charge of Discrimination.