Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), it is unlawful for any public employer or a private employer with 15 or more employees to refuse to hire, discharge, or take action affecting an employee's compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of the employee's race or color (42 USC 2000e-2(a)). Employers are prohibited from basing employment decisions on racial stereotypes or assumptions about abilities, traits, or performance of members of a particular race. Segregating or classifying employees based on these protected characteristics is also prohibited under Title VII. For example, an employer may not assign primarily African-American employees to predominantly African-American establishments or geographic areas. Both intentional discrimination and discrimination resulting from seemingly neutral job policies are prohibited.
In addition, guidelines issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) state that discrimination is unlawful if based on a person's:
• Association with an individual of a different race
• Membership in or association with ethnic-based organizations or groups
• Attendance or participation in schools or places of worship associated with certain minority groups
• Race-related characteristics (such as skin color or hair texture) or conditions (such as sickle-cell anemia) that predominantly affect one race
• Color--defined as discrimination because of skin pigmentation, complexion, shade, or tone, including by persons of the same race or ethnicity (e.g., an African-American hiring manager refuses to hire African-Americans whose skin is either lighter or darker than his own)
Finally, an employer may be violating the law if statistics show that ...