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Race Discrimination Claims in Los Angeles, CA

Racial discrimination in employment is prohibited under California and federal law. Employers that engage in racial discrimination deserve to be held accountable, and employees who experience discrimination in employment deserve the full remedies available under the law. If you believe you have a claim, we encourage you to contact us so that a Los Angeles race discrimination lawyer at Attorneys for Employees can take appropriate legal action on your behalf.

What Constitutes Racial Discrimination? Your Los Angeles Lawyer Explains

Racial discrimination involves treating job applicants or employees differently based on their race. As the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explains, it also involves treating applicants and employees differently “because of personal characteristics associated with race (such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features).”

Both the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibit racial discrimination in employment. Along with racial discrimination, FEHA and Title VII also prohibit discrimination based on color and national origin. If an employer makes an employment-related decision that negatively impacts an employee based on the employee’s race, color, or national origin, this decision may violate FEHA, Title VII, or both.

1. When Employment Decisions Target Your Race

As with other forms of discrimination, racial discrimination is prohibited in all aspects of employment including hiring, termination, and everything in between. If you have experienced any of the following because of your race, an experienced Los Angeles race discrimination attorney can help you assert your legal rights:

  • Denied a job opportunity;
  • Denied a promotion;
  • Paid less than similarly situated employees;
  • Offered fewer training opportunities, fringe benefits, or other benefits of employment or
  • Terminated from your employment.

Since most employers know that racial discrimination is illegal, when making race-based employment decisions, they will often try to create a legitimate justification for their actions. For example, an employer may write a negative performance review and put it in an employee’s file before firing the employee. In that instance, if the employee’s race still remains a reason behind the employer’s decision, the negative performance review does not excuse the employer’s wrongful conduct.  In fact, even if an employer has a legitimate justification along with a discriminatory purpose, this type of mixed-motive employment decision-making scenario violates the employee’s rights under FEHA and Title VII.

2. Facing Racial Harassment in Los Angeles? A Lawyer Can Help Secure Your Rights

Employees in Los Angeles can also file racial discrimination claims if they experience harassment in the workplace. As the EEOC explains, while isolated incidents typically do not rise to the level of harassment, employees can file racial discrimination claims if offensive comments or conduct are “so frequent or severe that [they] create[] a hostile or offensive work environment or when [t]hey result[] in an adverse employment decision.”

Similar to other forms of racial discrimination (and other forms of discrimination in general), racial harassment can take many different forms. Some can be overt, while others can be more subtle—but no less impactful. For example, you may have a racial harassment claim in Los Angeles if you have experienced or witnessed the following:

  • Racial or ethnic slurs;
  • Derogatory remarks about your race, color, or national origin;
  • Display of racially-offensive symbols;
  • Abusive comments or treatment based on your race, color, or national origin; and
  • Disparate treatment, exclusion, or isolation based on your race, color, or national origin.

Unfortunately, all of these examples remain far too common in all types of workplaces. Whether you have experienced racial harassment perpetrated by your manager, supervisor, or coworkers, you sadly are not alone. But, like other victims, you have clear legal rights, and you can hire a Los Angeles race discrimination lawyer to assert these rights on your behalf.

3. Challenging Unfair Employment Policies

FEHA and Title VII also prohibit employers from adopting and enforcing race-based and racially-motivated employment policies and procedures. This includes policies and procedures that are overtly biased as well as those that are biased in their effect. While a policy that expressly provides for disparate treatment of employees of different races is clearly unlawful, so is a policy that is facially neutral but disproportionately affects employees of a certain race. The EEOC gives the following example:

“[A] ‘no-beard’ employment policy that applies to all workers without regard to race or national origin may still be unlawful . . . [if it] is not related to the job and in effect disproportionately harms employment opportunities based on race or national origin.”

This is just one example of many. Employment policies and practices that disproportionately affect employees who are members of racial minority groups are exceedingly common. While some of these policies and practices are born out of ignorance, some of them are intentional. But ignorance is not an excuse, and employees who experience disproportionate negative consequences as a result of their race can—and should—consult with a lawyer regardless of the specific circumstances involved.

Preferential Treatment and Racial Bias: When Does It Cross the Line in Los Angeles?

While discrimination is typically defined in terms of taking action against a person belonging to a protected class, there is considerable confusion surrounding the preferential treatment of individual employees. One of the ways that employers will attempt to hide racial discrimination is by giving preference to employees who do not belong to a protected class. 

The workplace commonly requires that one employee be chosen over another employee. Preferential treatment can be given for many valid reasons such as seniority, experience, or skills. It can also be given for invalid reasons, such as nepotism or favoritism, without rising to the level of racial discrimination. Distinguishing between preferential treatment and racial discrimination is often difficult, and workers should be aware that employers may offer pretextual reasons for giving preferential treatment that simply are not true. 

When Preferential Treatment in Los Angeles Becomes Illegal Racial Discrimination

Preferential treatment is against the law when it effectively operates to the disadvantage of an employee or employees on the basis of their race. For example, preferential treatment may amount to being passed over for promotion or a limitation of advancement opportunities. An experienced discrimination lawyer can help you gather the evidence you will need if you suspect that you have been discriminated against as a result of preferential treatment. 

What to Do If You’re a Victim of Race Discrimination: Contact a Los Angeles Lawyer

If you are a victim of racial discrimination in employment, you will want to be very careful to protect your legal rights. While you may want to complain to your coworkers or post on social media, this might not be the best approach, at least not right now. Before you do anything that could jeopardize your legal rights, you should consult with one of our Los Angeles race discrimination attorneys. We can walk you through what to do and what not to do, and if you have a racial discrimination claim, we can file a claim with the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) or the EEOC. If necessary, we will file a lawsuit in order to pursue your racial discrimination claim.

Building a Strong Case Against Racial Discrimination with a Los Angeles Lawyer

You will need substantial evidence in order to prove your discrimination claim. To build your case, here are some steps that you can take: 

  • Take detailed notes. Write down any instances in which you believe that you were discriminated against on the basis of your race. Note the date, time, who was involved, and any other pertinent details. This will help you recall specifically what happened later on and verify important facts.  
  • Talk to witnesses and other employees. Witnesses to the discriminatory behavior and other employees may be reluctant to come forward, but getting them to corroborate what happened may be vital to your claim. Ask them for their personal contact information in case you need them to make a statement later on. 
  • Save any documents or other physical evidence of the discrimination. Discrimination can sometimes come in the form of a company-wide policy. In other cases, someone may have hung an offensive sign or picture. At a minimum, take a picture of any physical evidence with your phone.  
  • Be prepared to discuss your employment record. Many employers will attempt to argue that adverse action was taken against you for underperforming or other employment-related issues rather than for discriminatory purposes. Understanding potential issues ahead of time will help you be prepared to argue against these claims. 
  • Contact a race discrimination lawyer. Getting a lawyer on your side is the best thing you can do to build your case. They will know specifically what evidence you will need and can help you get it. 

The Impact of Racial Discrimination in Los Angeles Workplaces: Let a Lawyer Help

Discrimination affects more than just the employee who is being discriminated against – it can affect the entire work environment. The impact of discrimination can be felt throughout the workplace in the following ways: 

  • Loss of productivity. Workers typically do not do their best work and are unproductive when they are unhappy. This can include when they sense that their co-workers are being mistreated. 
  • Decline in workplace morale. Employees become unhappy in their jobs when they perceive that their employer allows or engages in discriminatory behavior. 
  • Tarnished reputations. If the discrimination becomes public, it can do considerable damage to the employer’s reputation. Individual executives and managers can also lose public respect. 

Speak Confidently with An Experienced Los Angeles Race Discrimination Lawyer About Your Case

If you need to know more about your legal rights as a victim of employment-related racial discrimination in California, we encourage you to contact us for an initial consultation. To speak with an experienced lawyer in confidence, get in touch online today.