A recent spate of harassment lawsuits by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) shine a light on the pervasiveness of workplace racism and bigotry, some of which is taking place right in our own backyard. In a Sept. 14 press release issued by the EEOC regarding the lawsuits, the agency said that workplace racism “remains a pervasive problem that exists out in the open to be seen by anyone who bothers to look.”

In 2020, charges filed with the EEOC alleging discrimination or harassment because of a person’s race or color made up more than one-third of all complaints the agency fielded. Out of 67,448 overall cases filed with the agency, over 25,000 were on the basis of race/color. Apart from retaliation claims, claims of race discrimination continue to be the single highest number of claims of all the protected classes. On a local level, race cases made up 27.9% of the filings with the EEOC’s Philadelphia office and 14.8% of cases filed with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC).