• Laura the Labor Lawyer

Is it unlawful to refuse to hire someone because of their skin color?

Yes. Starting in the 1950s, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other civil rights leaders fought for equal treatment of black Americans, who were often excluded and mistreated based on the color of their skin. Persuaded by the civil rights movement, Congress enacted an entire body of law barring discrimination based on categories such as race, sex, and religion. These laws explicitly prohibit employers from hiring based on skin color.


Let’s fast-forward to 2022. Do these same federal civil rights laws protect white males? In today’s world, many on the left will be offended simply by the question and by the implication that reverse racism may exist. However, a November 7, 2022, survey by Resume Builder found that 1 in 6 hiring managers have been told to stop hiring white males.


Imagine that. Nearly 20% of America’s hiring managers in 2022 have been told to discriminate against job applicants because of the color of their skin.


So do laws against race discrimination apply to white males? The short answer is, yes. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in employment based on race or color, without qualifications. However, the feds continue to push competing priorities and churn mud into what should be clear water.


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) -- tasked with enforcing our civil rights laws -- has affirmed that, just like employees of color, “white employees” are “protected from race discrimination even though they are not a minority.” The EEOC goes on to say that “You are protected from different treatment at work on the basis of your race, whether you are White, Black, or some other race.” (Interestingly, the EEOC’s statement does not speak to hiring decisions.)


The EEOC has also supported claims of “reverse discrimination” by white applicants and employees. These claims are generally open and egregious, in the context of explicit anti-white statements by managers. (Also interestingly, the most recent example occurred in 2015.) The EEOC’s activity to stamp out hiring discrimination against Black applicants is more recent, with cases listed through 2020.


At the same time, the EEOC also promotes affirmative action. Longstanding EEOC guidance states that “there is no separate legal concept of ‘reverse discrimination’” and that “race, sex, and national origin conscious decisions may be required in order to eliminate the effects of past discrimination and the adverse effects of present policies and practices.” Affirmative action is voluntary for private employers, but government contractors have long been required to practice affirmative action and to prove their compliance with written affirmative action plans.


So, does that make the dictates to “stop hiring white males” legal? Not likely, but the tension between the Civil Rights Act as written, and the federal government’s promotion of affirmative action, has been present for decades. In recent years, cognitive dissonance has escalated exponentially. In 2022, the EEOC established an Office for Civil Rights, Diversity, and Inclusion, including a new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility (DEIA) Division. As we all know – and as confirmed by EEOC policy guidance on “best practices” – DEIA requires intense scrutiny and social pressure to root out alleged implicit bias by “white” people against “people of color.” This inevitably leads to screening out white men, who live at the bottom of the DEIA pyramid.


Thus, in an Orwellian nutshell, discrimination against white men is both prohibited in writing, and required in practice. Civil rights warriors like MLK must be rolling in their graves.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court recently heard arguments in a case challenging the practice of race-based college admissions to increase “diversity.” We can only hope the Supreme Court will bring clarity to this issue, by upholding the simple vision that applicants should be judged on merit alone.


Here at RedBalloon, we believe hiring should be about skills, experience, talent, work ethic, and value. It should not be about one’s skin color. In the spirit of the original civil rights movement, we help employers and employees fight woke practices that divide the workplace and destroy morale.


Do your company and your career a favor. Leave the woke-place, and come back to the workplace.

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