Human resources professionals are often the first to hear about workplace discrimination, but a new study shows that they are divided on whether racial discrimination is a problem in the office. Not surprisingly, opinions on the severity of racial discrimination in the workplace, in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States, broke largely along racial lines with 49% of Black human resources professionals feeling it is a problem and only 13% of whites.

The study, which was commissioned by the professional organization the Society for Human Resource Management, interviewed 1,300 human resource staffers in an attempt to measure concerns about racial bias in the workplace. Respondents were asked if they thought rude comments and slights existed in their workplace. Only 44% of white professionals felt that they did while 61% of Black HR staffers thought so. When asked if their companies are doing enough to provide Black employees with opportunities to advance, 68% of Blacks surveyed said no, compared to only 35% of whites.

In addition to surveying human resource professionals, the study polled workers to determine their opinion of race in the workplace. Again, differences were noted along racial lines with just 7% of white workers feeling that there is racial inequality in their jobs and 35% of Black workers believing there is.

This study shows that there is still a long way to go to reach inclusion and equality. Part of the reason may be because people of both races feel uncomfortable discussing racial issues at work with 37% of Blacks and whites agreeing they felt that way. Employees who have suffered any form of workplace discrimination, whether based on race, gender or another protected class, may benefit from the advice of an attorney experienced in employment law. An attorney may be able to determine the best possible course of action to ensure a fair outcome.