Race & Color

For more than 50 years, Federal law has protected workers from discrimination based on race or color. The apprenticeship Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) regulations also protect apprentices from discrimination on the bases of race and color. There are steps that employers and other sponsors can take to avoid such discrimination and to ensure their workforces reflect the diversity of their communities.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • While protection on the bases of race and color may overlap, they are not the same. Race discrimination involves treating an applicant or apprentice differently because of his or her race, while color discrimination involves differential treatment because of skin color, pigmentation, complexion, shade or tone, regardless of race. Thus, someone can engage in conduct that discriminates on the basis of color even if both parties are the same race.

    Race or color discrimination may also involve treating an individual unfavorably because the person is married to, or associates with, a person of a certain race or color.

  • Everyone is protected from race or color discrimination, including persons of more than one race. Race or color discrimination can occur between persons of different races or can occur even if the discriminator and the individual being discriminated against are of the same race. Race or color discrimination may overlap with discrimination based on national origin, as well.

  • Race or color discrimination is prohibited in every aspect of employment and apprenticeship programs - recruiting, hiring, and advancement; wages and benefits; work assignments; discipline, layoffs, and discharge; provision of related instruction; and any other term, condition, or privilege of employment or apprenticeship.

    Harassment on the basis of race or color is a form of discrimination under Federal law and the apprenticeship EEO regulations. Unwelcome workplace harassment based on a protected characteristic, such as race or color, is unlawful when acceding to or tolerating it is made a condition of employment, or when it creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment that interferes with the individual's work performance. Sponsors are responsible for taking certain steps to prevent and correct race- or color-based harassment by supervisors, journeyworkers, co-workers and/or other apprentices, and customers. More information on the prevention of harassment can be found on the Anti-Harassment Training Resources page.

    Apprentices also have the right to be free from intimidation and retaliation for opposing discrimination on the basis of race or color, or for participating in inquiries into discrimination in their workplace.

  • For affirmative action purposes, apprenticeship sponsors must maintain certain demographic information about applicants and apprentices, including race, so that they can analyze and monitor the composition of their apprenticeship workforces. One way to obtain this information while also guarding against discriminatory employment actions is to use a separate form to gather it from applicants, and to keep the information about an applicant's race separate from the information that will be the basis for hiring and other employment decisions. In addition, sponsors may obtain information about each apprentice's race from the Program Registration and Apprenticeship Agreement form (OMB #1205-0223, ETA Form 671), Apprentice Registration - Section II, which each apprentice must complete upon entering the program and which sponsors must report to the Office of Apprenticeship.

Additional Resources