Los Angeles Workplace Race Discrimination Attorneys
Clients Owe Us Nothing Until We Win
Have you faced injustice at the workplace simply due to how you look or the color of your skin? Here at King & Siegel LLP, our Los Angeles race discrimination lawyers are determined to offer all of our clients the attention and aggressive support they deserve when fighting against racial discrimination at their jobs.
When you hire us, you are hiring an exceptional law team with the following background, skills, and qualifications:
- Experience with winning multi-million dollar verdicts in high-stakes litigation,
- Law degrees from top-five law schools,
- Training from the best and biggest litigation firms in the nation,
- Skill at providing personalized legal services catered to each client’s unique needs, and
- Experience with aggressively handling employers that break the law.
Your safety and well-being are our top priority. We can protect you through any employment-related dispute, investigation, negotiation, or litigation.
According to federal and California laws, particularly the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Fair Employment and Housing Act, no employer is allowed to make prejudiced decisions against employees or job applicants based on race or ethnicity. Also, section 51.03 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code forbids private sector employers in the city from discriminating against employees based on their race, ethnicity, or color. If you think your employer has discriminated against you, speaking to one of our ethnic discrimination lawyers can help. A racial discrimination attorney from our firm can help you identify and protect your rights under state, federal, and local laws. This includes decisions in hiring, promotion, benefits, salary and wages, or termination.
Prohibited discrimination law also bans any discrimination, behavior, or negative attitudes that are based on stereotypical assumptions about a person’s abilities, talents, traits, or nature, simply on account of their race, ancestry, culture, language, birthplace, or even their names that come with certain national associations. Critically, the law allows for claims even where there is no discriminatory intent, but an employer’s actions result in a disparate (i.e., unequal) treatment of groups of employees who are of a different race or ethnicity.
Signs of Race Discrimination at Work
The federal government reports that in 2022, it received 1030 charges of workplace racial discrimination in California. So, how do you know if your case warrants a complaint? Often, when people have been unfairly treated at their jobs on account of their race, the color of their skin or complexion, their hair color or texture, or any other physical feature, there are multiple ways that prejudice against them (or favoritism toward others) is manifested. People do not always resort to committing outright harassment, though any examples of racial slurs, derogatory comments and statements, cruel or offensive jokes, and racially prejudiced images or symbols also clearly count as discrimination. If any type of overt discrimination occurs, you must report the unlawful behavior, and also be on the lookout for more subtle prejudice.
Some of the less initially obvious examples of racial discrimination could include:
- A demotion, lay-off, or outright termination;
- A refusal to hire someone;
- Denying or decreasing a person’s benefits, salary or wages, number of job assignments, promotion opportunities, or cases for additional training;
- Direct threats or generally unpleasant behavior that eventually forces someone to quit; or
- Refusing to provide similar accommodation or treatment for someone of a different race or ethnicity.
While these biased and unlawful tactics might be understated, they are typically no less illegal than an employer yelling a slur at someone or blatantly stating that it does not want individuals of a particular race on its premises.
Seeking Damages in the State of California
According to the crucial Civil Rights Act of 1991 and the Fair Employment and Housing Act, employees are entitled to justice and recompense for what they have suffered in the workplace. Of course, there is no way to ever erase the emotional pain, mental suffering, and anguish caused by losing benefits, wages, or even your entire job to your employer’s discriminatory behavior. However, it is significant that you can at least recover your financial losses, receive compensation for your emotional distress, and obtain payment for your future monetary needs, which are being incurred specifically because of your employer’s violation of the law. These damages can be multiplied in instances where we can prove purposeful malice or oppression. Moreover, if an employer’s practices primarily affect some racial groups significantly more than others, workers are even more likely to receive relief for their losses.
Filing a Racial Discrimination Complaint
If you suffer ethnic discrimination, national origin discrimination, or racial discrimination in the workplace, you have three options for obtaining justice:
- File a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC);
- File a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) also called the California Civil Rights Department); or
- File a civil lawsuit.
With each type of complaint, you can receive financial damages and injunctive orders.
Filing an EEOC Charge
Through the EEOC, the government enforces federal anti-discrimination laws against unscrupulous employers. To take advantage of this type of federal protection, you have to file a “charge of discrimination” with the EEOC. This can be done through the EEOC’s online public portal, in person at an EEOC office, by calling 1-800-669-4000, or by mail.
Complaints made to the EEOC should include the following:
- Your contact information;
- A description of the discrimination you suffered;
- A description of the damages you incurred; and
- The signature of you or your lawyer.
Filing a discrimination charge has multiple steps. Before you can formally file your charge, you have to complete an online inquiry and interview with the EEOC. After completing the preliminary steps, you can file your charge online, and the EEOC can then investigate and resolve your complaint. Each claim is different, but it may take multiple months for the EEOC to reach a resolution in your case.
Filing a DFEH Complaint
The State of California can hold your employer accountable for discriminatory practices if you file a complaint with the DFEH. You can file your complaint online, or you can mail in completed intake forms. Filing your complaint online might be the simplest option for you, and it begins with creating an account through the California Civil Rights System and submitting an intake form. If you want the DFEH to investigate and help resolve your complaint, you need to provide the following information:
- Facts and records regarding the discriminatory incident;
- Copies of your evidence; and
- Names and contact information of witnesses.
The DFEH prepares complaint forms for you to sign if it believes your employer violated state anti-discrimination laws. Once you sign and return the DFEH complaint forms, the state agency delivers the complaint to your employer. The DFEH can then begin the investigation and resolution process. An investigation and resolution of your case could take several months and could include interviews, mediation sessions, and requests for documentation.
Filing a Lawsuit
Some wronged employees obtain justice through the court system. However, an employee cannot file a discrimination lawsuit until they receive a right-to-sue notice from the EEOC or DFEH.
As you can see, navigating employment complaints is often complicated and emotionally draining. It is best to hire an experienced attorney immediately to advocate for you and preserve your rights.
Proving Racial Discrimination
In general, there are three types of evidence of racial discrimination in the workplace:
- Direct evidence,
- Comparative evidence, and
- Statistical evidence.
The type of proof that you provide for any one of these evidence categories can be the same.
Evidence that proves your employer’s discriminatory motivations can include:
- Employer handbooks and policies,
- Personnel records,
- Employer correspondence,
- Disciplinary records,
- Records showing a history of discrimination complaints against your employer,
- Witness accounts,
- Employee grievance documents, and
- Personal notes about discriminatory moments.
While your personal notes might not be admissible in hearings, they can be a great way to jog your memory. The better your memory about discriminatory moments, the more credible an investigator or judge might find your testimony about your employer’s discrimination.
Direct evidence of discrimination typically means proof that your employer or its agents explicitly said that it is treating you differently because of your race. A lot of racial discrimination is more covert in these times, but some employers still make outright statements about their biases in the open or behind closed doors. Stay alert to what your coworkers say around you, and pay close attention to thinly veiled racial statements in employer correspondence.
Comparative evidence is proof that your employer enforces rules and provides benefits differently based on employees’ races. For instance, you might notice that neither you nor other employees of the same racial background have been promoted in years- despite your qualifications. You might also notice that your employer frequently promotes less experienced employees of other races. Witness accounts and personnel records that show this disparity can be your proof of racial discrimination.
Statistical evidence can be proof that an employer’s practices or policies have had a different impact on employees along racial lines. For example, a seemingly non-biased shaving policy regarding facial hair might be racially discriminatory if, statistically, one racial group of people has more severe physical reactions to shaving compared to others.
Do not panic if you don’t initially have access to every piece of evidence that can prove your case. During their investigations, the EEOC and DFEH often request to review records you can’t normally access. Also, an experienced attorney can use litigation tools such as interrogatories to compel employers to hand over important documents.
You have 180 days to file a complaint with the EEOC, but you have only 45 days to initiate your claim if you are a federal employee. And you have three years to file a DFEH complaint in California. If you choose to file a lawsuit instead, you must file a state lawsuit within one year of receiving your DFEH right-to-sue notice, and you must file your federal lawsuit within 90 days of receiving your EEOC notice of right-to-sue.
TYPES OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN THE WORKPLACE
An employer can enforce its unlawful biases in the workplace in many ways. The two main types of discrimination are disparate treatment discrimination and disparate impact discrimination.
DISPARATE TREATMENT DISCRIMINATION
Disparate treatment discrimination means you were treated differently because of your race, ethnicity, or other protected characteristic. The evidence of disparate treatment may be direct or circumstantial. Perhaps your supervisor made explicit comments about your race. However, more subtle forms of disparate treatment are also illegal. For example, maybe your supervisor allows your colleagues of a different race to clock in late each day, but when you clock in late once, you are immediately fired. This is a situation where one could infer that you were treated differently because of your race, particularly if there are other examples of disparate treatment that bolster this conclusion.
DISPARATE IMPACT DISCRIMINATION
Disparate impact discrimination occurs when an employer’s policies or behaviors are “neutral” on the surface but disproportionately affect one racial group compared to others. For instance, if your employer prefers to recruit applicants from a particular school that lacks diversity, it may be committing disparate impact discrimination because the preference makes it harder for individuals from other racial groups to obtain positions with your employer. You might need to present indirect or statistical evidence in a hearing or trial to prove this type of discrimination.
HOW CAN A RACE DISCRIMINATION LAWYER IN LOS ANGELES HELP ME?
Hiring an experienced race discrimination attorney can be vital to the success of your case for multiple reasons. Your attorney can do the following to help ensure that you receive the relief you deserve:
- Pinpoint the type of discrimination you have endured and what kind of evidence you will need to win your case,
- Use legal tactics to obtain all the evidence that you need for your case,
- Take on the stressful work of confronting an employer who has mistreated you while you take time to heal,
- Negotiate favorable settlement terms that keep your rights intact and prevent you from spending unnecessary time and money in court,
- Educate you about your rights to prevent current and future employers from taking advantage of you, and
- Guide you through the complaint process so that you have a solid sense of confidence and comfort in your fight for justice.
Standing up for yourself in a discriminatory employment relationship is hard work. You have already taken that challenging step, and our attorneys can take you the rest of the way so that you receive the compensation and legal remedies you deserve.
Your race shouldn’t affect your career. If racial bias is impacting your work, you can count on King & Siegel LLP to stand up for you. Reach out today for a free case review.
- Age Discrimination,
- Disability Discrimination,
- Gender Discrimination,
- Parental Status Discrimination,
- Pregnancy Discrimination,
- Religious Discrimination, and
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. An employer must have had at least 15 employees during a 20-week period to be subject to an EEOC complaint. And an employer must have at least five employees to be subject to a DFEH complaint.
No. After filing an EEOC or DFEH complaint, you might have to attend mediation with your employer. Some employees resolve their issues with their employers during the mediation process. Also, your lawyer might be able to negotiate a good settlement with your employer before you go to trial for a discrimination lawsuit.
Your employer is liable for employment discrimination if it knew or should have known a client or customer was harassing you and it didn’t take corrective action.
If you see evidence of racial bias on the job, take notes regarding the behavior and speak to an attorney right away. If the racial discrimination is in the form of harassment or has affected a coworker with the same racial background as you, you may have the right to make a legal complaint against your employer, even if you were not the target of the offensive conduct. And if the mistreatment was not harassment or targeted toward others with your personal characteristics, it could still be circumstantial evidence you can use to prove similar, unlawful injustices you have suffered at work. One of our Los Angeles race discrimination lawyers can help you determine whether you have a discrimination claim on your hands, and they can help you gather the proper evidence for your case.
Also, remember that your employer cannot fire or punish you for assisting a fellow employee with their discrimination claim. So, if you are disciplined after taking note of the discrimination occurring around you or helping a coworker complain, you can take legal action against your employer.