Los Angeles Racial Discrimination Attorney
What is Racial and Color Discrimination?
Racial discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee less favorably than another person in the same situation because of the color of their skin, or any personal characteristics, such as hair texture, skin color or certain facial features they may have that are linked to a certain race. Color discrimination involves treating someone in an unfavorable manner because of their complexion. Both racial and color discrimination are prohibited by state and federal law.
Examples of Racial Discrimination
Racial discrimination occurs, for instance, when an employer refuses to promote Latino workers to management positions, refuses to interview Asian applicants, or does not give the same raises to African American workers as they do to white workers. Other examples of racial discrimination include other decisions based on race, such as:
- Hiring and applicant screening
- Unequal compensation
- Less desirable job assignments
- Harassment by coworkers or management
- Racial preference in termination, layoffs, or discipline
- Failure to promote
Racial / color discrimination can also be described as unfavorable treatment toward someone because that person is married, or linked, to a person who is of a specific race or color. Discrimination can take place when the victim and the person who is acting in a discriminatory manner, are of the same race or color. Under federal law, racial / color discrimination is forbidden in any aspect of employment, including hiring, termination, compensation, job assignments, promotions, training and fringe benefits.
Racial Discrimination Violates Federal and State Laws.
Under federal and state law, racial / color discrimination is forbidden in any aspect of employment, including hiring, termination, compensation, job assignments, promotions, training and fringe benefits. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because that person has complained about discrimination, filed a complaint of discrimination, or participated in a discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
Federal law prohibits racial discrimination by public and private employers. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employers are forbidden from discriminating against their employees on the basis of race, color or national origin. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including private employers as well as federal, state, and local governments. Private and public colleges and universities, labor organizations, and employment agencies are also subject to Title VII. In addition, Title 42, Chapter 21 of the U.S. Code prohibits discrimination against people on the basis of age (40 or older), disability, gender, race, national origin and religion within the areas of employment as well as other settings.
Similarly, California state law also prohibits racial discrimination. Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, gender, age, sexual orientation, or military or veteran status. The FEHA also prohibits retaliation against employees for reporting or complaining about discriminatory treatment. Employers with five or more employees must comply with the FEHA.
In 2016, the FEHA was amended to include new regulations, which set forth new requirements for employers when establishing a policy aimed at preventing harassment, discrimination and retaliation. Importantly, the regulations clarify that employees can be personally liable for unlawful harassment of coworkers. The regulations specify numerous requirements that the employer must do when establishing policies aimed at preventing discrimination. The employer must establish a confidential complaint process, and respond and investigate the complaints promptly. In addition, the employer must specify that suitable remedial steps will be taken if any misconduct is discovered. Moreover, the employer must include in writing that no employee who files a complaint alleging discrimination or takes part in a workplace investigation will be subject to retaliation.
Another method an employer may use to discriminate against a worker is by providing them unfair compensation. Beginning on January 1, 2017, it will be illegal in California for employers to pay its employees at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of another race or ethnicity for substantially similar work. Governor Brown signed this new law, S.B. 1063 (codified as Section 1197.5(b) of the California Labor Code), on September 30, 2016. It expands upon California’s Fair Pay Act which prohibits an employer from paying any of its employees at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work.
What to Do if You Are Facing Discrimination or Harassment
If you believe you are being treated unfavorably by your employer because of your race or color, it is important that you talk to an experienced employment attorney right away. You may need to take certain steps to protect and assert your rights. For example, you should start taking notes about any mistreatment you are receiving, including date, time, and the people involved. You should also start collecting any relevant documents and/or emails. You should also use the company’s grievance or complaint process to make your concerns known. An attorney can assist you to better understand your rights and options.
Before you can file a lawsuit based on racial discrimination or harassment, you will need to file a discrimination claim with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and/or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). There are stringent time constraints within which to file a claim of employment discrimination. You are required to file a claim with the DFEH or the EEOC within one year of the date on which you think you suffered discrimination from your employer.
If you believe you were the victim of racial discrimination in the workplace, contact Strong Advocates to review your case. Strong Advocates can help you complete the paperwork, participate in the investigation, negotiate a settlement–or, if needed, file a lawsuit. Call us at (800) 870-9886 to schedule a consultation.