Nobody needs to tolerate the insult and indignity of racial discrimination or workplace harassment and discrimination. California state and federal laws provide protection to individuals whose rights are violated. California racial harassment attorneys provide expert guidance and assertive representation to individuals and help them to reclaim their right to pursue their careers without being subjected to racial discrimination, harassment, degradation, and other types of interference.
It can sometimes be difficult to determine whether the workplace discrimination is due to your ethnicity or race, but it would be prudent to obtain all the facts before you file a harassment or racial discrimination complaint. Racial discrimination is very common and it may take various different forms, and some may not be that obvious. This can make it difficult to determine the reasons why your employer is unlawfully discriminating against you.
Despite the state's firm stance against racial harassment, the problem is still prevalent across the nation. The EEOC files nearly a hundred-thousand workplace discrimination charges from the private sector every year, with discriminatory treatment ranging from:
- refusal to hire a person of a certain race or ethnicity;
- wrongful termination;
- scheduling changes;
- salary decreases;
- unfair write-ups;
- and denial of overtime.
What is Workplace Racial Discrimination?
Employers can use different forms of behavior to discriminate against applicants or employees because of their race or ethnicity. It typically involves different or unfavorable treatment in terms of employment conditions towards a person who belongs - or is perceived to belong - to a certain ethnic or racial group.
A person's personal characteristics, which are associated with an applicant's or employee's ethnicity or race may also be the reason why they are harassed by an employer, a behavior that may result in adverse employment actions, such as written warnings and termination. These characteristics include, but may not be limited to:
- hair color or texture
- skin color
- facial features
- and accent
If receive negative treatment at work because you are associated with or married to a person of a certain color or race (biracial relationship), that would also constitute racial discrimination in the workplace.
What You Should Know About Racial Discrimination in the Workplace
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1968 strictly prohibit workplace racial discrimination. California's Fair Employment and Housing Act bans employee harassment and discrimination based on race, color and ethnicity as well as marital status, gender identity and expression, national origin, physical and mental disability, pregnancy, and more. Both California and federal law prohibit employers from practicing discrimination against employees for their color or race. In terms of this law, race and color are not the same thing.
The Title VII Civil Rights Act 1964 is applicable to employers who employ fifteen or more employees. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces guidance which assist employers to prevent racial discrimination in the workplace. The E-RACE initiative aims to strengthen the enforcement of Title VII. Public and private employees also have protection against workplace discrimination based on race from Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866.
Some of the behaviors prohibited by the laws include:
- treating people from a certain ethnic or racial group differently to other groups;
- holding certain ethnic and or racial groups to higher workplace and performance standards;
- adopting policies that have a disparate effect on certain ethnic or racial groups.
Race is based on a person's identifiable ethnic characteristics or ancestry. A person's skin color, rather than race, can therefore form the foundation of a racial discrimination claim, even if the case is filed against a supervisor, co-worker or employer of the same race.
Contrary to popular notions, color and race protections are not only applicable to groups that are historic minorities, such as African Americans or Hispanics. The law also prohibits racial discrimination against white people and any other minority or majority race, although it is sometimes referred to as reverse race discrimination.
Proving Racial Discrimination
Racial discrimination can be perpetrated in an active or passive manner, and the law also covers racial harassment, which may consist of:
- displaying offensive symbols
- offensive remarks relating to a person's color or race
- racial slurs.
Minor and isolated, off-hand comments are typically not sufficient to justify a claim against your employer under state or federal law. However, if the discrimination or harassment creates hostile working conditions, you may have a case against a client, customer, co-worker, supervisor or the company. In some cases, racial discrimination can be more subtle. Employees may be reassigned to doing more unpleasant or difficult work functions, or they may receive negative performance evaluations despite adequate work performance.
Indirect and direct evidence can be used to prove that racial discrimination took place. Direct evidence is not always easy to obtain, as people avoid leaving paper trails in our modern, litigious culture. As a result, evidence is usually circumstantial, which means that evidence indirectly shows that racial discrimination took place. Circumstantial evidence may include witness testimonies.
Do not be discouraged from pursuing your case just because you do not have direct evidence. An expert racial discrimination attorney may be able to help you litigate the matter.
It is unlawful under Federal and California state law for employers to subject employees to adverse work conditions or abusive, hostile and intimidating work environments due to their ethnicity or race. The law offers employees protection from ethnic harassment and racial discrimination perpetuated or allowed by their employers. Examples of racial discrimination or ethnic persecution in the workplace may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Refusal to hire or barring someone from employment because of their ethnicity or race;
- Refusal to select a person for ongoing training or terminating them from a training program because of ethnicity or race;
- Denial of raises and promotions or compensation because of ethnicity or race;
- Denial of benefits because of ethnicity or race;
- Increased workload because of ethnicity or race;
- Decreased work hours or sudden shift changes because of ethnicity or race;
- Workspace vandalization because of ethnicity or race;
- Cyber bullying perpetrated by coworkers or employers because of ethnicity or race;
- Unfair discipline by an employer because of ethnicity or race;
- Negative performance reviews because of ethnicity or race;
- Insults or verbal abuse because of ethnicity or race;
- Threats of violence or abuse because of ethnicity or race;
- Direct or indirect unfair dismissal due to the fact that he or she has filed, testified in or otherwise assisted in a complaint or FEHA proceedings, because of ethnicity or race.
If you have been exposed to any of the above types of harassment, oversights or discrimination, you may well have a legal right to sue your company for racial discrimination in the workplace. Your employer is obliged to protect you from racial harassment, and if they fail to meet their obligations, you may have grounds for prosecution. Speak to a racial harassment attorney about the merits of your case as soon as you feel that you are experiencing discrimination due to your race or color.
File a Racial Discrimination Lawsuit in California
Strict deadlines apply to the filing of racial discrimination claims, which is why it is important to speak to a racial discrimination attorney as soon as you can.
The first step to take when you want to file a civil lawsuit for racial discrimination against your employer in California, is to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). You must obtain a Notice of Right to Sue from the DFEH in order to file a civil claim.
You must file your racial discrimination complaint within one year from the discriminatory act, and only when you obtain the Notice of Right to Sue may you file the civil complaint against your employer. This is because cases of racial discrimination tend to turn on certain facts. The FEHA must verify the administrative complaint in writing, along with the alleged facts that gave rise to your claim. In the event that the above administrative remedies fail, the option to pursue legal action for justice and compensation in the California courts may still be available.
A racial discrimination lawyer will advise you on whether you should file your claim with the FEHA or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The decision will be influenced by your employment status (for instance, if you are a federal civilian employee) and the nature of the racial discrimination. Racial discrimination attorneys usually file claims under FEHA.
After filing a claim with the EEOC, you may file a lawsuit based on federal law against your employer. When you file a civil claim for racial discrimination against your employer in California, you will have to prove that:
- you belong to a protected class;
- you were qualified for the job in question, or you met the performance standards laid out by the employer;
- you were not employed, laid off or replaced by a person outside of the protected class;
- circumstances regarding your hiring, replacement or termination were the result of discrimination or reasonable interference;
- your employer used mere pretext for racial discrimination as an explanation for the actions taken.
Damages Available to Victims of Racial Discrimination in the Workplace
The merits of each individual case will determine the the damages available. However, it may include:
- reinstatement of employment
- transferral or promotion into a new position
- recovery of lost wages (both past and future)
- damages for emotional distress
It can be difficult to prove racial discrimination and as a result, cases typically require extensive collection of evidence and investigation. This is usually done through direct evidence, comparative evidence and statistical data.
- Direct evidence tends to be the most persuasive.
- Statistical analysis is usually more easily available in large organisation as it can help demonstrate systematic practices by which the employer perpetuates racial discrimination in terms of hiring, promotion and termination of a particular ethnic or racial group.
- Comparative evidence can show that employers apply different standards to people of different racial groups.
Help With Obtaining Justice Against Racial Discrimination
A California racial discrimination lawyer will be able to help you obtain fair compensation and justice after you have suffered the ordeal which is racial discrimination in the workplace. Racial harassment can involve repetitive and intense offensive behavior, unfair treatment and comments perpetrated by a co-worker, supervisor or employer. It goes beyond simple teasing or joking and can be differentiated based on the severity and frequency.
Consequences of Racial Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace
Race harassment could range from relatively simple inappropriate humor to more serious psychological intimidation to physical violence in severe cases. Minor incidents can quickly escalate, which is why it is important to address it by taking an assertive stance. Sometimes, the aggressive approach to effectively challenging racial intimidation is the best way to protect your rights.
Racial harassment and discrimination can have devastating consequences. It can affect a person's confidence and self worth, and prohibit them from successfully functioning in the workplace. Arm yourself with the knowledge you need to protect you by enlisting the services of a California racial discrimination lawyer.
Get the Help You Deserve - Enlist a California Racial Harassment Attorney Today
Do you feel that you are being treated unfairly by your co-workers, supervisors or your employer? Has this caused you significant hardship in the workplace? Do you believe that this is due to the color of your skin or because of your racial or ethnic affiliations? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may well be a victim of racial discrimination.
You should not suffer in silence. You have the right to equal treatment and a safe working environment. A California racial discrimination lawyer can help you fight for fair treatment and employment equality. Don't delay. Get in touch with us today to reclaim your rights.
Call 800-905-1856 now to schedule an initial case assessment with an experienced racial discrimination attorney. We are committed to ensuring safe working environments for all workers in California.