How Real is Racism at the Workplace?

By Jack Tuckner, Esq.

Racism is real. Racism is real in our culture still, and racism is alive and well, unfortunately, and real in American workplaces. My name is Jack Tuckner. If you need assistance with your own challenges in the workplace with regard to advancement, promotion, respectful and equal treatment, equal pay, because you’re being treated differently due to your race, your color, your culture, your national origin, etc., the law protects you.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, certain state laws like New York State and New York City’s anti-discrimination laws, go much farther than the federal law, even protecting natural hair; meaning hair identified with people of color, with certain cultures; braids, locs, cornrows, etc. Any natural hairstyle that is an essential, integral part of your identity as a person of color is protected. And there’s no reason to be shy anymore when you know that you’re being treated differently in the workplace because of your race and color.

It’s illegal. I know this even as a white man who’s enjoyed–and I’ve been aware of it since I was a small child–white privilege–not to mention male privilege. White privilege in this culture is a thing. And as I explain to juries when I’m selecting them, and as I’ll explain to you, if and when I have the privilege to work with you, consult with you, or represent you, there are many times in my life where I’ve had encounters with authority, with police, with any number of situations where I am given the benefit of the doubt, and I know that were I Black in some of these situations where I certainly would’ve been arrested, I was given a pass for reasons that are clear, clear to most people of color listening to this, and certainly were always clear to me. And they’re clear to us if we just examine that from 2015, after the Michael Brown murder in 2014, from 2015 to 2020, murders of unarmed black and indigenous and people of color by police was at least three times more frequent than shootings or murder of unarmed white people.

Okay, so it’s, this is not really newsworthy. And the fact is that discrimination, race discrimination, after 400 years of slavery and its horrible aftermath, we may not be able to offer reparations that this white person believes would’ve been appropriate many years ago and still would be today. What we can do is continue the fight for equality, right? As the pendulum swing towards toward justice may be long, the arc, as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King says, but it bends toward justice. So, one thing to keep in mind is that if you’re experiencing discrimination in the workplace, unequal pay due to your race and color, hostility due to your race, color or culture, failure to promote due to race, color, or culture, it’s illegal.

Any type of disparate treatment that you are experiencing, and you knew, and you know that it wouldn’t have happened to you but for your race, your color, your identity – illegal. By the way, there have been numerous studies where hiring managers or head hunters are given two identical resumes, CVs, identical, except for the names at the top. One name at the top is a name that sounds Black or particularly ethnic. And the other name at the top sounds very white, Caucasian-y American, right? Who do you think is hired far more frequently, offered interviews or the actual position? The ones with the white sounding name. And forget about it if at the top, there are photographs on these resumes of a person of color or a white person. By far, the white person gets more traction, more interviews, more job offers, simply based on that factor alone.

So, racism is a thing. And if you mention this video, that you met me here, my name is Jack Tuckner, or hit me up on Twitter @JackTuckner or LinkedIn or Facebook or reply right here, or shoot us an email at our website, Tuckner. Sipser, Weinstock & Sipser, I will personally consult with you at no charge to you and in total confidence, to see how I may be able to assist you to navigate these discrimination challenges you’re dealing with at work, and perhaps even represent you if the time is appropriate.

But remember, you must complain to your employer. If you’ve reached that point where it’s clearly not about merit, deliverables, productivity, talent, skillset, education, experience, this is about discrimination. And you know it, right? Because your co– people, white people, are being promoted over you year after year, and they have nothing on you other than their whiteness. That is worth standing up for yourself and complaining about. I for, for years have called it the “Rosa Parks Moment.” And it doesn’t always mean race, a racial issue. The Rosa Parks Moment for me is a metaphor for when one says, hell no, not today. Enough. I’m not going to the back of this bus, metaphorically or figuratively, or literally. I can’t, I won’t stand for it anymore.

And that line in the sand time is your complaint to your employer; respectful, but yet still pointing out all the wonderful value you’ve added to your company, but you’ve still been suffering discrimination, that can only be attributed to your race because Joe and Jane and Bob have been promoted or they’re paid more than you and they perform substantially similar work to you, so that you feel unfortunately that you’re experiencing racial discrimination, cultural discrimination, right? Color discrimination. And allow your company the opportunity to investigate it as they must, and resolve it in your favor.

Because what they’re not allowed to do is subject you to backlash, which is called retaliation for your protected civil rights complaint. So again, my name is Jack Tuckner. If you mention this “Racism is Real” video when you call the office or text, email, or find me on one of the social media platforms, I will speak with you on Zoom or on the phone, for a free consultation to see if and how we may be able to empower you and assist you and even represent you, in order for you to seek and obtain workplace justice.

Until we meet, take care and have a happy new year.