In California and across the country, demonstrations in support of racial equality are taking place. Men and women, young and old – individuals are coming together and peacefully protesting for the fair and equal treatment of people. If your employer is mistreating you or discriminating against you because of your skin color, you may be able to bring a claim for discrimination.

It is against the law for employers to discriminate against a person based on his or her race or ethnicity. Employees who are discriminated against or harassed based on race or ethnicity can file a lawsuit against their employer for damages.

Recent Case Involving Racial Discrimination at Work

Racial discrimination at work seems like it should be part of the past but as we are hearing through the sharing of powerful stories, it still happens in workplaces around California.

In a recent racial discrimination case, a former African-American female employee of UCLA Hospital in Santa Monica sued the hospital for racial discrimination and wrongful termination. The woman, who drew blood for hospital patients, claimed that her co-workers would comment on her skin color and use racist language when speaking to her. She also said they would also throw her blood samples away or label them incorrectly, overall creating a very uncomfortable work environment. The employee took the necessary steps and reported the discriminatory comments and actions to her supervisors, who did nothing. Eventually, she was terminated.

A jury ruled in her favor and awarded her $1.58 million for the mistreatment and discrimination she endured in her workplace.

Workplace discrimination based on race is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and California’s public policy which is codified in the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The jury agreed that UCLA Hospital had taken part in illegal discrimination by not investigating the woman’s claims. Your employer has a duty to protect employees from racial harassment and discrimination.

What is Racial Discrimination in California?

Under California law, it is an illegal for an employer to discriminate against a person because of his or her race or color in any aspect of employment. This includes:

  • Refusing to hire or employ
  • Refusing to select a person for a training program
  • Firing, bearing, or discharging an employee
  • Discriminating against a person in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

You should be mindful of the evidence needed to establish a race-based claim.  For example, the mere fact that you were fired by someone who is of a different race/ethnicity is not enough.  Conversely, just because the person that fired you is of the same race/ethnicity as you will not preclude a racial discrimination claim.  Claims will often depend on evidence that reflects race-based motivation, such as comments and statistics.

For a free consultation regarding your potential racial discrimination claim, contact the experienced employment attorneys at the Law Offices of Eric A. Boyajian today.