It is illegal in California and the United States for an organization or employer to discriminate against someone based on race or ethnicity. Therefore, you should take legal action if you think you have been discriminated against in California for employment purposes. Learn more in this article about race discrimination in California, and speak to our race discrimination lawyers in Riverside at Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C. for additional information.
What You Should Know About State And Federal Race Discrimination Laws
No worker should ever need to tolerate racism on the job, but it still happens. A recent Gallup poll states that almost 25% of Hispanic and Black employees nationwide reported facing racial discrimination at work in the last year. Workers who make more money reported being discriminated against almost as often as those with lower salaries. California and federal laws bar companies from discriminating against you for your race. These laws are:
- Federal law: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans racial discrimination, meaning unfavorable treatment based on a worker’s race. The law applies to all organizations with a minimum of 15 full-time and part-time employees.
- California law: The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) bans discrimination based on race in the workplace. FEHA is broader than what exists at the federal level and applies to all organizations with five or more workers.
What Are Examples Of Racial Discrimination At Work?
Most race discrimination claims at work in California are complex because racism can take many different shapes, but sometimes the discrimination is blatant and subtle. Some common examples of job-based race discrimination are:
- Lower wages: It could be discrimination if you observe people of other races receive higher pay than you with the same qualifications and experience.
- More scrutiny: Do you notice that managers pay more attention and supervise you more closely than employees of another race?
- Hostile workplace: A workplace is illegally hostile if the worker must deal with mistreatment because of their race.
- Refusal to promote or hire: A company may violate the rights of people applying for jobs by not hiring them according to race. Also, your rights could be violated if race was a reason they did not receive a promotion.
Racism in the workplace is illegal even if the person is incorrect about your race. Anti-discrimination laws also apply if someone perceives you to be of a certain race or color. So, it is not a defense for a company to say that it was incorrect about your color or race.
Suppose a company does an interview with a Korean woman and she is not hired because the interviewer has a bias against people from South Korea. However, the woman was a US citizen and was born in the US to parents from China. If the applicant makes a discrimination complaint, the fact that the interviewer was wrong about her race is irrelevant. However, the employer could still be punished for breaking state and federal laws against discrimination.
Spouse’s Or Family’s National Origin
State and federal discrimination laws also can protect you if you have a spouse or family member of another race. The company cannot discriminate against you because your spouse is of another race.
For example, suppose a company wants to promote someone Hispanic. But the manager sees the worker’s family photo and notices he is married to a white woman. The manager dislikes people marrying outside their race and decides to give the promotion to someone less qualified. This is a violation of state and federal law.
Laws Apply To Non-Minorities, Too
Most employment-based racial discrimination involves minorities, but not always. Employment discrimination is also illegal against white people. For instance, a grocery store manager interviews a white female for a cashier position, but he hires an Asian applicant with less experience because the manager thinks Asians have a stronger work ethic. The manager violated the law even though the discrimination involves a white applicant.
How To Report Race Discrimination
It is common for employees to worry about workplace retaliation if they report racial discrimination. You have the right to report when you are discriminated against at work. This includes making complaints to your HR department and filing a legal complaint. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that companies cannot retaliate against employees who report discrimination.
In California, you can file a claim with the EEOC, but in some cases, California law has broader safeguards for anti-discrimination cases than national law. So, many Californians prefer filing their discrimination claim with the California Civil Rights Department (CRD).
If you wish to file a lawsuit against the company for race discrimination, you must try the administrative options first to resolve the issue. This might mean you must go through a CRD complaint before filing suit. However, racial discrimination lawyers in Riverside may assist with filing a CRD complaint and get a right-to-sue notice and not wait for the administrative case to conclude first.
You may file a race discrimination complaint with the CRD, but it usually must be submitted within three years of the last time you were discriminated against or retaliated against. But there are exceptions, such as if you only became aware of the discrimination after the three years had expired.
The CRD will perform an intake interview to decide if the complaint should be investigated. Then, someone from the CRD will contact a complainant within two months to discuss the alleged incident or harassment based on race. If the case is accepted, the complaining party will need to sign the complaint and it is delivered to the employer.
How the case proceeds from that point depends on how the employer responds. It may be settled through mediation, but if not, the CRD could file a discrimination lawsuit against the company. If the CRD closes the claim without action, you may still be able to file a lawsuit on your own.
Contact Our Race Discrimination Lawyers In Riverside
Racism in any context is unacceptable, but it continues to be a problem in some California workplaces. Fortunately, you do not have to tolerate racial discrimination in the workplace. Our experienced race discrimination lawyers in Riverside at Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C. may be able to help, so call (888) 883-6588 today.