Race Discrimination in California

Race Discrimination in the workplace never feels good when you are on the receiving end of it. Many people think it is a rare occurrence, but it happens more than you would think. Fortunately, there are laws that protect employees from being subject to race discrimination at work. Employees are protected by both California and federal laws. These laws were enacted to prevent employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of certain characteristics like: race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, age, gender and more.

In California, it is against the law for an employer to discriminate against their employees for many different reasons, including based on their race. California has some of the strictest laws in the United States protecting employees from employers for unlawful behavior. Employers are prohibited from making decisions such as hiring, firing, promoting, demoting and more based on the person’s race.

In Orange County, and other counties in California, an employee may have many remedies for being the victim of race discrimination. There are laws in place for a reason and if an employer decides to break the law, an employee may pursue a case against that employer by first obtaining a “Right to Sue” letter from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”). Employees that are victims of race discrimination can recover the following:

  • Lost Wages and Benefits
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Court Costs
  • Attorney’s Fees
  • Punitive Damages (An act of oppression, fraud or malice, by an officer, director or managing agent, acting on behalf of the employer)

If punitive damages are awarded in a case, it could drastically change the amount of money that a victim of race discrimination could recover. This amount could be multiples more than the compensatory damages.

This page was created by Brandon Yousif, a California discrimination attorney. Ally Law Group represents employees to protect their rights against being subject to race discrimination at the hands of their employer. If YOU believe YOU have been the victim of unlawful race discrimination at work, contact Brandon as soon as possible for a FREE CONSULTATION. 

A Simple Breakdown of Discrimination Law in California

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), California’s anti-discrimination law, makes it against the law for an employer to terminate or discriminate against an employee because of a protected characteristic (listed below). Basically, employees can’t be fired because of a protected characteristic or because they performed a legally protected act. FEHA also prohibits employers from placing an individual in a hostile work environment based on their race. In addition, employers are not allowed to refuse to hire, demote, pay less, or punish someone because they are a member of a protected class.

Protected characteristics and classes include:

  • Race
  • Religious Creed
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Ancestry
  • Physical disability
  • Mental disability
  • Medical Condition
  • Genetic information
  • Marital status
  • Sex (including pregnancy)
  • Gender
  • Gender expression
  • Gender identity
  • Age (over 40)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Military; or
  • Veteran status. (CA Government Code § 12940(a))

Federal Law also serves to protect employees in most of the protected categories listed above. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) of the United States is responsible for enforcing the federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee because of the person’s race. Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws (20 employees in age discrimination cases). 

Employer Actions that Qualify as Discrimination in California

To prove you were the victim of race discrimination at work, you must show that the employer took an adverse/disadvantageous action against you, and that the action was directly correlated to discrimination on the basis of race. Below is a list of adverse actions taken by the employer:

  • Termination / Firing
  • Reduction in Pay
  • Demotion
  • Denial of promotion
  • Transfer (unfavorable to employee)
  • Loss of benefits

How to Sue My Employer for Unlawful Discrimination in Orange County, California?

As stated above, the first step to the lawsuit is obtaining the “right to sue” letter from the California DFEH or the federal EEOC. Once you receive the letter, then you must file your lawsuit within 1 year. Having an experienced Orange County discrimination attorney represent you may make or break your case. An experienced attorney will gather all the evidence needed to help you prove the discrimination occurred, while also discrediting your employer’s false statements. Our experienced discrimination attorneys will gather evidence like statements from witnesses, your personal file, communication records and any other evidence that may be important to your case.

Talking to an experienced and knowledgeable Orange County employment race discrimination attorney could help you determine the best course of action in your situation. Most race discrimination cases are not simple. Employers will do anything they can to look like they are well behaved and that the employee is the one that was fired for good reason. For example, DEF Company fired Chris based on his race, but pointed to drinking on the job for his termination. Chris may then put together evidence that he showed up to work sober for every shift, continued to be sober throughout his full shifts, and that his performance was more than sufficient. Gathering evidence to prove your case and cast a shadow of doubt on your employers’ statements is crucial to obtaining the outcome you want.

Contact Ally Law Group Today!

We believe we are the best employment law firm in Orange County because we care for our clients. Our clients are an extension of our family and we strive to protect and fight for every penny our clients deserve. If you feel like you may have a case against your former employer for discrimination, contact us today for a free consultation!

About Ally Law Group

Our Law Firm is driven by a diverse clientele that requires us to think outside of the box. Each case has different factual circumstances, so each case will be different. Our attorneys find it exciting to develop strategic plans with our clients, showing them that they do have a chance at achieving their goals no matter what type of case they have.

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