Los Angeles Racial Discrimination Lawyer
Discrimination against an employee because of their race is illegal and wrong. State and federal law prohibit discrimination against employees based on their race or color. If you feel that you have been discriminated against in the workplace because of your race, you may be entitled to damages. At the Dolan Law Firm, our attorneys understand the stress and strain that comes with facing racial discrimination in the workplace and help our clients through every step necessary to achieve equality at work.
What is Racial Discrimination?
Racial discrimination in the workplace occurs when an employer treats a person unfavorably or differently in the terms and conditions of their employment because of their race or color. In order to qualify as racial discrimination, the actions must be taken by an employer while performing acts that are part of their job description.
Racial discrimination can happen because of an employer’s discrimination against a person’s real or perceived race or color. It is not a defense against racial discrimination if the employer was wrong about an applicant or employee’s race, it must only be shown that the employer believed the employee was a particular race and acted in a discriminatory manner because of that belief. Discrimination against also extends to the actual or perceived race of an employee’s spouse and family members. An employer is not allowed to discriminate against an employee because their spouse or family member is or is perceived to be a different race.
It is important to note that racial discrimination does not just happen to members of minority groups. Caucasians can also be racially discriminated against in the workplace because of existing stereotypes. One example is an employer hiring a less experienced Hispanic worker over a white applicant because the stereotype exists that Hispanic people work harder. This, too, is racial discrimination in the workplace. We understand that identifying racial discrimination can be a complex and messy business, but if you believe that you have been discriminated against because of your race or color by your employer it is important to call the Dolan Law Firm today.
State and Federal Racial Discrimination Law
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act protect applicants and employees from racial discrimination in the workplace. Under FEHA, any employer with five or more employees in California is prohibited from racially discriminating against all employees, applicants, contractors, and unpaid interns of a company.
FEHA bans racial discrimination in all aspects of business, which includes but is not limited to, the following:
- Advertising for open positions;
- Applications, screening, and interviews;
- Hiring, transferring, promoting, terminating, or separating employees;
- Working conditions (including compensation); and
- Participation in training, apprenticeship programs, employee organizations, or unions.
The Act also prohibits the harassment of employees in the workplace based on race or color. Unlawful harassment occurs when a person mistreats another in the workplace in a way that changes the terms and conditions of their employment. Sexual harassment and insensitive comments about racial stereotypes are considered harassment, and FEHA applies the law to all employers in the state with no minimum employee count.
Examples of Racial Discrimination in the Workplace
Racial discrimination comes in many forms, some obvious and others less so. While a couple of examples of workplace discrimination have already been discussed on this page, here are some of the most common examples of race-based workplace discrimination our attorneys handle on behalf of our clients:
- Refusing to hire an applicant;
- Unfair write-ups or negative performance reviews;
- Demotions and decreases in pay;
- Unfair discipline;
- Denial of a promotion or raise;
- Exclusion from project meetings;
- Denial of overtime;
- Unfair or unfavorable changes in scheduling;
- Extreme workload increases;
- Denied ongoing training or participation in a training program; and
- Wrongful termination.
These are just a few of the ways in which an employer can racially discriminate against an employee and, if you believe that you have been a victim to these practices, you should consult an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible.
How to File a Discrimination Lawsuit
California has a complex process for filing a lawsuit against an employer for racial discrimination. The most important thing you can do to protect your claims is to hire an experienced employment law attorney as soon as the discrimination has occurred. The statute of limitations on racial discrimination lawsuits can be short, as little as a year after receiving a Right to Sue notice from the court, so it is vital you have an attorney working with you from the beginning of the case.
The state requires that an employee claiming discrimination must either file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before the case is allowed to go to court. The employee may request these organizations to provide an investigation into the claims before deciding the next step or to simply file for a Right to Sue notice. The latter option skips the investigation by the governmental bodies and leaves all aspects of the case with the attorney. Once a Right-to-Sue notice is received, a lawsuit for racial discrimination can be filed with the court.
Compensation for Racial Discrimination
An employee that has been racially discriminated against in the workplace is entitled to a variety of remedies under California law. These include back pay and benefits, front pay, hiring or restatement, promotion, out-of-pocket expenses, employer policy changes, workplace training, reasonable accommodations, compensation for emotional distress, and attorneys’ fees.
In addition, the court may award punitive damages for cases of particularly egregious racial discrimination in the workplace. Punitive damages are an additional award given beyond the typical compensatory damages. The purpose of which is to punish the employer for their willful and wanton racial discrimination, as well as to discourage any other employers from discriminating against their employees in a similar way.
Reach Out to Our Racial Discrimination Lawyers in Los Angeles
No one is allowed to harass or discriminate against you in the workplace because of your race and anyone that does need to be held responsible for their actions against you as an employee. The employment law attorneys at the Dolan Law Firm in Los Angeles are experts at handling racial discrimination cases and have years of experience defending their clients right to a discrimination-free workplace. If you believe that you have been discriminated against at work because of your race, call or contact our office online today.