Employment Law Firm in California
The effects of racial discrimination on an employee’s work experience can often be traumatic. Fortunately, there are federal and state laws ((Gov.C. § 12940(k)) in place to protect California employees from racial discrimination in the workplace.
However, racial discrimination claims are notoriously difficult to prove. It must be proven that any adverse actions you were subject to were because of your race. Smoking gun evidence is rare in these cases and employees must often prove racial discrimination with indirect evidence.
If you were the victim of racial discrimination in the workplace you may be entitled to damages for:
Examples of racial discrimination in the workplace are far ranging. Some are obvious, but the majority are subtle. Racial discrimination can include:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the primary federal law that exists to protect every individual from discrimination based on their race, color, national origin, sex, and religion.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act offers additional protections against racial discrimination for California residents at the state level. In other words, there are protections as well as remedies if you have been the victim of racial discrimination in the workplace.
All California employees have the right to be free of any racial discrimination, harassment, or adverse employment actions. An employer is guilty of racial discrimination anytime it makes job decisions based on race, or anytime it follows neutral job policies that negatively affect members of a particular race.
Federal law and California law both explicitly forbid racial discrimination in every aspect of employment. This includes hiring, firing, compensation, promotions, on the job training, and discipline.
Furthermore, an employee is legally protected from harassment as well. Most of us are familiar with sexual harassment, yet harassment can be based on other protected characteristics, such as a person’s race.
In order for a particular behavior to become harassment, the conduct must be unwelcome and it must be sufficiently severe or persistent enough to interfere with the terms and conditions of a victim’s employment. A behavior becomes unwelcome if an individual was offended by it and if he or she neither solicited nor participated in it.
In order to successfully pursue a racial discrimination claim in the state of California, an employee must prove that:
No one should put up with racist remarks or harassment just to do their job. Whether or not the comments or behavior you have been subject to are pervasive and offensive enough to become harassment, you should take steps to address it.
It may be difficult, but make it clear to your co-workers that their comments are hurtful and not at all funny. If the behavior persists, go to your Human Resources (HR) department and make a formal complaint. Once you make a complaint, your employer is legally required to investigate your complaint and find a solution. It’s possible that your employer will recognize the seriousness of the issue and take steps to address the problem.
However, if making an internal complaint does not stop the harassment, you must go to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or California’s anti-discrimination agency and report the incident. You must first file a charge of discrimination in order to legally file a lawsuit against your employer. If you have not already retained an experienced racial discrimination attorney, now is the time to do so.
Can my boss fire me for reporting racial discrimination?
Absolutely not. Retaliating against an employee who complains about or who participates in a racial discrimination investigation is unlawful.
The practice of racial discrimination in every aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, compensation, promotions, on training, and employee discipline is forbidden. In essence, an employer is guilty of racial discrimination whenever it makes job related decisions based on an employee’s race, or when it abides by seemingly neutral job policies that negatively affect members of a particular race.
Can I be discriminated against by someone from the same race?
The answer is complex. There is such a thing as color discrimination, which can occur between individuals of the same race or ethnicity. Race and color sometimes overlap, but they are not necessarily the same.
Therefore, color discrimination may occur when an employee is discriminated against because of the lightness or the darkness of that person’s skin. Further, Title VII prohibits both racial and color discrimination against any persons, including Caucasians.
What is the difference between harassment and disparate treatment?
Disparate treatment is a form of illegal discrimination in the workplace. An employee who makes a disparate treatment claim is alleging that he or she was treated differently than other employees in similar situations because of his or her race. Disparate treatment is similar to racial discrimination, but there are significant differences.
The difference between racial discrimination and disparate treatment is subtle. In disparate treatment lawsuits, an employee is not claiming that he or she was deliberately singled out by an employer because of his or her race. In disparate treatment cases, an employee is making a claim that an employer’s seemingly neutral policy, practice, or rule is having a negative impact on members of a certain race.
Let’s consider some examples which show the difference between racial discrimination and disparate treatment. For example, a minimum height requirement may have the adverse effect of screening out a disproportionate number of otherwise qualified Hispanic American and Asian American job candidates. Or a company policy that bans hiring applicants with an arrest record may disproportionately affect African American and Hispanic American men.
Then there is of course the employer’s counter argument. An employer can defend its height requirement policy if it has a legitimate and job related reason for it. A valid reason would be when an employee must actually be a certain height to safely operate a piece of machinery. On the other hand, an employer would have a much harder time justifying a height requirement for a desk job.
If you have made up your mind to take action, it is important to work with an attorney that specializes in cases like yours. The racial discrimination lawyers at West Coast Employment Lawyers have extensive experience handling racial discrimination cases. We will work tirelessly to gather the facts, find and interview eyewitnesses, hire experts, and fight for your rights.
We work on a contingency basis, which means we only get attorney’s fees if we are able to recover for you. Our legal team is available 24/7 and will take care of your case from start to finish. For a free no-obligation consultation with a racial discrimination attorney in California, contact our office at 1-800-247-9235.
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