Like most of the country, California is no stranger to racial discrimination. In 2011, The EEOC claimed to have received more than 35,395 unique complaints relating to racial discrimination. There were more than 2,300 charges filed against employers by current and prospective employees. Our Los Angeles racial discrimination lawyer at the Fraigun Law Group handles many cases like these.
The actions of the employers are both unethical and illegal. There are federal and state-specific regulations enforced in California designed to protect applicants and employees from racial discrimination. The laws say that no employer may discriminate against an individual because of their religion, color, race, or national origin. Unfortunately, employers do not always abide by these laws.
If you believe you have lost out on a job opportunity because of your race or have encountered racial discrimination while at work, then you have the right to take legal action. Employers are forbidden from retaliating against employees for filing charges. But if you’re going to stand up to a big business you will want to have a professional legal team on your side.
What Is Considered Racial Discrimination in the Workplace?
Racial discrimination in the workplace can take many forms and be overt or more subtle. Some examples include:
- Not hiring qualified job applicants because of their race
- Lower wages compared to peers with an equivalent job
- Denying workers opportunities for promotion based on race, skin color, or national origin
- Racist jokes and inappropriate comments being tolerated
- Slurs and harassment
- Giving fewer work assignments or unfavorable job assignments
- Excluding workers from training
- Wrongful termination
- Employer retaliation against workers who file discrimination complaints
In some cases, it is evident when an employer makes an unethical decision based on racial discrimination. A boss may make offensive comments about how people of a certain race or ethnicity are lazy.
Racial discrimination doesn’t always involve an employer stating that race is involved. For example, they may take action against an employee because of hair texture associated with a specific race. They may not outright claim to have racist motives but this is still considered a form of racial discrimination.
Common examples of racial discrimination for existing employees include reduced wages, a lack of work assignments, no access to benefits, and no possibility for promotion. If you are being paid significantly less than your peers and are refused opportunities to progress at work, then racial discrimination may be involved.
The more severe cases involve employees who are fired or forced to quit because of their race. Once again, this is illegal in the state of California and you have a right to file a legal dispute.
What Is Disparate Treatment?
Racial discrimination in California can generally be separated into two different categories. They are disparate treatment and disparate impact. It is illegal for employers to participate in either of these categories even if they are unaware that the discrimination exists.
The first category is disparate treatment and is the more common charge. It requires an employer to target a current or prospective employee because of their race. The most common examples like refusal to hire, forced termination, and demotions are all types of disparate treatment.
What Is Required to Prove Disparate Treatment Occurred?
We handle a large number of disparate treatment cases in the Los Angeles area. There are three key factors that we always need to prove to win the case.
- That you are a member of a protected group due to your color or race.
- That your employer took action against you in the workplace. This includes failure to hire, a pay decrease, termination, and any other action that has harmed your employment status.
- That the action your employer took was based on your color or race.
It’s also possible for disparate treatment to include negative actions like harassment. Using racial slurs may not reduce your income or cost you your job, but it can still be considered disparate treatment in the workplace. The harassment must happen regularly or be severe to qualify.
What Is Disparate Impact?
This is the second type of racial discrimination and it involves work policies rather than the actions of a single individual. A company may enact a certain policy that unfairly impacts people of a specific race. If a company enacts a policy that only allows hairstyles common among Caucasians, then it can have a severe negative impact on people of other races with different natural hairstyles and textures.
These types of policies are often enacted intentionally with racial discrimination in mind. In some cases, it is not an intentional act and is simply a company policy that the management believes to be most effective. Discriminatory intent does not always need to be proven to win a disparate impact claim.
Is Preferential Treatment Illegal in Los Angeles?
Preferential treatment is extremely common in workplaces throughout the entire world. Business owners, managers, and hiring agents may choose to employ people simply because they like them more than the competition. It may even be because they are related or close friends outside of work. This type of preferential treatment is not illegal in the state of California.
However, there is a point where preferential treatment may cross a line and become a form of workplace discrimination. This occurs when management shows preferential treatment only to people of a specific race. They then fail to offer rewards to other applicable employees due to their race, color, religion, or gender. This is typically considered a form of racial discrimination and charges can be filed.
Employers Are Legally Responsible for Racial Discrimination in the Workplace
In California, it is the employer’s responsibility to eliminate racial discrimination at their place of business. They may have to implement certain policies or specific styles of training solely for the purpose of ending the discrimination.
This means that employers are legally responsible for certain actions that supervisors and managers take even if they were not involved. If a hiring manager racially discriminates against an applicant or policy qualifies for disparate impact, then it is the employer who will be found liable in court.
If an employer learns about racial discrimination in their business they are legally required to take action to end the discrimination. Employers who continue to knowingly allow discrimination are more likely to receive punitive damages from the lawsuit.
Filing a Racial Discrimination Claim in Los Angeles
The deadline to file a discrimination charge with the EEOC is 180 days from the act of discrimination. Because federal and California law prohibits racial discrimination, the deadline to file a discrimination claim is extended to 300 days.
If you are filing a complaint with the Department of Fair Housing and Employment, the state agency that handles discrimination cases in California, the deadline is three years.
You need to file an official complaint first if you want to proceed with a lawsuit. It is essential to contact an experienced Los Angeles racial discrimination lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Racial Discrimination Lawyer Today!
One of the first steps to take after experiencing racial discrimination is to file a report with your employer. It’s important to document the process as much as possible with written reports, emails, and medical bills if they exist. The next step is to get in touch with a racial discrimination lawyer in Los Angeles.
Our team at The Fraigun Law Group can help ensure that your employers are punished for their actions and the discrimination is brought to an end. We collect the necessary evidence, determine exactly who is at fault, and fight for your compensation. No person should lose employment opportunities because of their race, color, age, or gender.
Call us immediately at 818-981-1800 to schedule a free consultation today if you’ve experienced racial discrimination in your workplace.