California Race-Based Employment Discrimination Attorney
Most Californians know that it is illegal to discriminate against someone in the workplace because of their race. Unfortunately, race discrimination still occurs. While California offers its residents some of the strongest anti-discriminatory laws in the country, there are still thousands of lawsuits filed each year.
Race discrimination takes many forms in California workplaces, often going unnoticed by many employees. If you believe you have experienced discrimination, contact our California race-based employment discrimination attorney to learn your rights and options. Call the Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC at (805) 643-5555 to schedule a free consultation.
California Laws that Protect Against Race Discrimination at Work
Residents of California are protected by both state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination because of race in the workplace. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is the state’s primary protection against race discrimination and harassment.
The FEHA prohibits employers from harassing or discriminating against a person based on their race, skin color, ethnicity, national origin, heritage, or any traits that are culturally or historically associated with racial characteristics. This protection includes people who exhibit the protected characteristics, the perception that a person has the protected characteristics, or if the person is associated with an individual who either has or is perceived to have a protected trait. Furthermore, the FEHA prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee who complains about discrimination.
Federal laws under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also protects against race and color discrimination.
Who is Protected Against Race Discrimination in California?
While it does protect employees, the FEHA extends to other individuals related to the business. Other people protected from harassment and race discrimination include job applicants, interns, apprentices, and those receiving unpaid work experience. While volunteers and contractors are not covered under the discrimination provisions in the FEHA, employers are prohibited from harassing them. It is important to discuss your work status with our California discrimination attorney because it is not uncommon for an employer to mistakenly categorize an employee as an independent contractor or to consider an unpaid intern a volunteer.
Common Signs of Race-Based Employment Discrimination in California Workplaces
The FEHA encompasses all aspects of employment and hiring. Because of this, race discrimination comes in many forms. However, in many instances, it is not overt. Some examples include refusing to hire a person, demoting an employee, refusing to allow a person to participate in a training program, paying someone less than a similarly qualified person, or purposefully assigning demeaning tasks outside of the job description.
To show that this conduct was based on race discrimination, our California race-based employment discrimination attorney would have to show direct evidence of discrimination against your protected characteristic or evidence that a similar employee, of an unprotected class, is treated differently. Often, the second type of evidence is more prevalent.
Who Can be Held Liable for Race Discrimination in a California Workplace?
The FEHA defines what employers are subject to the law’s provisions. First, the discrimination provision includes any person or entity that employs five or more people, including part-time employees. The FEHA is more restrictive than federal law, which only applies to employers with 15 or more workers.
The prohibitions extend to agents of an employer that falls under the control of the FEHA. Furthermore, it includes state and local governments, special districts, and agencies.
The harassment provisions under the FEHA applies to all employers in California, including those that employ less than five workers. However, certain religious organizations and non-profit organizations are exempt from the FEHA.
In a race discrimination case under the FEHA, you are only able to hold your employer responsible. You cannot bring a claim against your supervisor, manager, or another coworker.
However, in a harassment case, your employer could be held responsible for the conduct of a supervisor or manager. Additionally, your employer could be held liable for a coworker’s conduct if the employer negligently allowed the conduct to continue. This liability also extends to contractors or vendors if your employer was aware of the behavior and did nothing to address or stop it.
Steps to Take if You Experience Race-Based Discrimination in a California Workplace
If you believe you have suffered race discrimination in the workplace, it is crucial to document every occasion in detail. In many cases, one instance is not enough to reach discrimination or harassment, so it is essential to record a pattern of behavior.
You should also report any incident to a supervisor or your human resources department. Reporting it could help address the issue as well as provide valuable evidence if you bring a discrimination lawsuit against your employer.
Next, if the issue was not addressed, you should file a complaint with either the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Typically, you must file a complaint with one of these two agencies before you are permitted to file a lawsuit. Because California law offers broader protections than federal law, you should most likely file your complaint with the DFEH. You should speak with our experienced California discrimination attorney to review your case before your file a complaint.
The DFEH or EEOC will investigate the matter. If it is not resolved, a “right to sue” letter will be issued. This letter grants you permission to pursue a discrimination lawsuit in court.
Call Our California Race-Based Employment Discrimination Attorney for a Free Consultation
Not every work experience is comfortable or ideal. However, when you experience racial discrimination in the workplace, your employer is acting illegally and should be held accountable. Our California employment discrimination attorneys are dedicated to fighting all forms of discriminatory behavior in the workplace. To schedule a free consultation to review your situation, call the Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC at (805) 643-5555.