There is no state law prohibiting private employers from discriminating on the basis of race. However, private employers with 15 or more employees must comply with the federal law under Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits race discrimination (42 USC 2000e et seq.).
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that evidence of racially discriminatory comments generally is sufficient to allow an employee's hostile work environment lawsuit to proceed to trial (Shockley v. HealthSouth Cent. Ga. Rehab. Hosp., 293 Fed. Appx. 742 (11th Cir. 2008)). The employee alleged frequent, severe, threatening, and humiliating verbal harassment by her supervisor. Because she requested a transfer away from her supervisor and complained to the human resources department about the harassment, the court ruled that she had presented sufficient facts to support her claim that the comments by her supervisor were sufficiently severe and pervasive to create a hostile work environment.
Practical tip: Employers should conduct a prompt and thorough investigation when an employee makes an internal complaint of harassment. It is important to document the fact that the investigation was conducted, the outcome of the investigation, and the steps taken by the employer to monitor the situation following the investigation. Additional information is available.