Articles Posted in racial discrimination

One of the most significant changes in federal racial discrimination cases came with the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Comcast Corp. v. National Association of African American-Owed Media, et al. News of this precedent was largely eclipsed by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., but the impact will be significant in future racial discrimination employment lawsuits. racial discrimination lawyer

For those who may not be familiar,  42 U.S.C. § 1981 of the Civil Rights Act bars race discrimination that is intentional in all forms of contracting. That includes employment. The conflict among lower courts in deciding these cases was whether a plaintiff needed to prove that race discrimination was just one motivating factor among several for the adverse employment action, or whether plaintiff needed to show that race was the “but for” cause. With a “but for” standard, plaintiffs need to prove the adverse outcome wouldn’t have happened “but for” the defendant’s wrongful conduct.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in November 2019 and issued their decision in March 2020. They held that plaintiffs in Section 1981 cases must meet the “but for” causation standard. Continue Reading ›

A former employee of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), the $80 billion philanthropic company Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg launched with his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, has filed a complaint alleging racial discrimination. The worker, who is Black, worked for the company for two years, beginning in the fall of 2018.racial discrimination lawyer

The complaint alleges that while CZI speaks a big game of diversity and valuing employees of all backgrounds, Black workers are paid less, valued less, marginalized and denied opportunities within the firm. While non-Black employees are encouraged and supported in their advancement efforts, Black employees are slapped with an “aggressive” label and shut down. When Black workers expressed these concerns to superiors, the company responded defensively rather than accepting responsibility and trying to address the problems, the complaint alleges.

CZI is the company into which the Zuckerbergs have funneled 99 percent of their Facebook stock, to be used for charitable causes. In June, shortly after the death of George Floyd, Zuckerberg posted that CZI has given more than $40 million annually for a number of years to organizations committed to addressing racial injustice. Continue Reading ›

Recently, presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden unveiled a broad plan to confront systemic racism and promote racial equity. The former vice president’s Racial Equity Plan is part of a larger Build Back Better economic proposal. This newest element – support of the BE HEARD Act – addresses workplace inequalities that are known to disproportionately impact minorities.Los Angeles racial discrimination lawyer

BE HEARD (Bringing an End to Harassment by Enhancing Accountability and Rejecting Discrimination in the Workplace), or H.R. 2148 has drawn praise from social justice advocates – yet earned the sharp ire of corporate interest groups. Essentially, it would (among other things) prohibit workplace harassment and discrimination under federal law – regardless of how many employees a company has – and require harassment training. It would further seek to address sexual harassment of tipped employees (a well-established problem) by requiring the cash wages paid to these workers be steadily increased until they meet the minimum wage for other workers.

As staunch regulatory critic Hans Bader wrote in the National Review, “(Under this plan), even the tiniest of employers would be saddled with unlimited legal liability for discrimination or harassment committed by an employee.” He added the law would alter the definition of sexual harassment in a way that would make small businesses vulnerable to liability for “trivial actions of their workers.”

As a longtime Los Angeles employment lawyer experienced in handling cases of racial discrimination and sexual harassment, I would note first that it’s a misconception that California employment lawsuits are or have ever been easy to win. Part of what this new law would do is establish a new liability standard for workplace harassment that “fulfills the Congressional intent” (as meticulously laid out in prior legislative action and case law) of providing broad protection from workplace discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, childbirth, a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth and sex stereotype), national origin, age, disability, genetic information and uniformed service status. Note the recognition of sexual orientation and gender identity – statuses that have protection in California, but not nationally. Continue Reading ›

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