Articles Posted in racial discrimination

In a case believed to be the first brought under the California CROWN Act, a Black job applicant alleges he was racially discriminated against by an employer on the basis of his hair. Los Angeles racial discrimination employment attorney

As our Los Angeles employment attorneys can explain, the CROWN Act stands for Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for natural Hair. It prohibits the use of grooming policies that disproportionately impact Black individuals. Examples include requirements banning locks and afros. Specifically, it amends provisions of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and the California Education Code to expand how discrimination on the basis of race is defined to expressly include unfair treatment on  the basis of traits historically associated with race. That includes certain hair textures, as well as hairstyles used to protect Black hair, such as braids, Afros, twists and locks.

California was the first state to pass the CROWN Act, which went into effect in January 2020, but at least 12 others have followed. The San Diego Union Times reports this is the first CROWN Act lawsuit filed in California since the statue was passed.

Company Calls Alleged CROWN Act Violation a “Miscommunication”

At issue in this case is a Black job applicant who’d recently moved to Southern California from Florida to further his audiovisual field career. He’d been working at an Orlando branch of the Illinois-based event management firm for four years when he was furloughed in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic. When he was invited to return to work, a strong recommendation from his boss gave him confidence he’d be able to maintain his same position as a tech supervisor, only in San Diego instead of Orlando. He was told the transition should be “no problem.”

His interview went well, up until the end, when dress code was discussed. He’d expected that having client-facing duties, he’d be required to remove his ear gauges and trim his facial hair. He was not expecting to be told he’d have to cut his hair. Plaintiff, whose hair was in locks, was told he’d have to cut it so that it was off the ears, eyes, and shoulders. He was told he would not be allowed to simply tie it back, away from his face.

Stunned, plaintiff told them it was “a deal-breaker.” Continue Reading ›

In recent years, many firms have turned to contract labor as a means to reduce certain overhead costs associated with hiring full-time employees. But as our Los Angeles employment discrimination attorneys can explain, companies that rely heavily on contract labor will want to take particular note of the recent $137 million racial discrimination verdict against Tesla. The verdict (which could be increased or decreased, depending on what happens during the appeal) was noteworthy not only for the sheer size of it, but the fact that Tesla – not the contracting firm that was the direct employer of the plaintiff – is the one cutting the check. racial discrimination lawyer Los Angeles

One of the main benefits companies gleaned from having contract laborers (as opposed to direct employees) was that employment law requirements could be shifted onto the contractor. But this verdict underscores the fact that the contracting firm can also be held accountable, so it’s best if all companies adhere to lawful employment practices.

In the Tesla case, a Black elevator operator employed by a staffing agency (third party) reportedly faced substantial and persistent racist treatment while working at Tesla. The workers who allegedly subjected him to ongoing disparagement were also hired and paid by another firm. In fact, most of the workers on site were directly employed by this third-party firm.

In determining liability, the court looked at who controlled the workers and which firm directed the work occurring on site. What the courts held was that Tesla was a joint employer, and that it was jointly and severally liable for the verdict. As our employment attorneys in Los Angeles can explain, joint and several liability occurs when there is a legal responsibility that is shared by two or more parties in a lawsuit. Someone who is wronged may sue any or all of those parties, and one may be ordered to pay the total amount of damages. Continue Reading ›

California workplace racial discrimination led to a jury verdict of $137 million against car maker Tesla. The plaintiff, an elevator operator, alleged the auto manufacturer turned a blind eye to racial abuse he suffered as a Black employee.racial discrimination lawyer

According to The New York Times, plaintiff worked at the company’s factor in Fremont for about a year. Throughout his tenure, supervisors reportedly used racial slurs repeatedly when referring to him. He was one of the many Black workers interviewed by the Times in 2018 about workplace racial discrimination at the international company.

In interviews, internal communications and sworn legal statements filed by more than two dozen current and former employees and contractors for the country revealed years of serious racial harassment and discrimination reported at the company’s factory in Freemont, CA. The company previously said that in a company of its size, sometimes there would be inevitable “bad behavior,” but insisted there was never any pattern of discrimination or harassment.

Among the incidents reported by employees of color: Continue Reading ›

When it comes to California employment discrimination lawsuits alleging wrongful termination, a common defense is the “mixed motive.” That is, even where discrimination is a deemed a substantial motivating factor in firing someone, employers cans still effectively defend themselves if they can successfully argue the outcome would have been the same absent any such discrimination. In that situation, as it was in the 2013 case of Wynona Harris v. City of Santa Monica, employees may not be entitled to damages, back pay, or an order of restatement (often the primary relief many seek), though they may still be entitled to injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as compensation for reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. racial discrimination

The high proof burdens in these employment law cases are one of the primary reasons we urge anyone considering a  claim for discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and/or retaliation, will work only with a highly experienced and skilled Los Angeles employment attorney with a track record of success in similar cases.

Recently, a similar case arose from an allegation of racial discrimination by a former scientist with the UCLA Medical Center. She alleged on-the-job, race-based harassment – which she did prove. In fact, jurors had previously awarded her $1.5 million in damages. However, in a review by a California Court of Appeals, the panel held that because the plaintiff was fired for legitimate reasons (notwithstanding race discrimination as a substantial motivating factor), the claimant’s damage award was reduced by more than $275,000.

As our L.A. racial discrimination lawyers can explain, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) holds that discrimination, retaliation, and harassment are separate wrongs, even if for the employee, it all appears connected. Each element of unlawful conduct has its own remedy. In the UCLA case, Birden v. The Regents of the University of California, the court held, a damage award for racial discrimination is only justified if that harassment ended with the employee losing his or her job. Continue Reading ›

Sony, multinational conglomerate corporation, is being accused of racial discrimination against Black employees. Some had been invited to appear in a Black History Month video earlier this year to speak as “Sony shining stars” about the power of Black voices in the company. Yet at least one of those workers now alleges that the company’s representations of diversity failed to match reality. racial discrimination lawyer Los Angeles

According to Buzzfeed, plaintiff said she raised concerns about racist remarks by her supervisors. Instead of addressing those, management for the company allegedly retaliated against her by excluding her from meetings, taking away certain prime accounts and then terminating her while she was on sick leave after contracting the coronavirus. She now believes she was used by the company to bulk up its diversity numbers, and had no intention of actually living up to the image it portrayed.

The company declined to comment on the specific lawsuit, Buzzfeed reported, but insisted dedication to equity, inclusion and diversity, adding all such complaints are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.

Our Los Angeles racial discrimination employment lawyers know this is far from an isolated incident in terms of employees of color closely considering whether the racial inequality reckoning that’s reverberated across the country over the last year has actually resulted in meaningful changes – particularly in terms of employment. Continue Reading ›

Racial discrimination at California workplaces can be grounds for employment litigation. Recently, according to The Los Angeles Times, numerous current and former workers for the City of Long Beach alleged they have been victimized for years by systemic racial prejudice at work.racial discrimination lawyer

Among the allegations set forth in the class action lawsuit against the city:

  • Black workers were reportedly kept disproportionately in lower-paying and unclassified positions.
  • Black workers not given equal pay or equal opportunity for promotion.
  • One worker told she was part of her department’s “problem children.”
  • One worker’s raise was revoked because of a purported mistake in salary calculations.
  • An “anti-black culture” within numerous city departments.

They allege that these actions individually and collectively contributed to a hostile work environment and held them back in their careers. One of those involved said Black workers for the city had been meeting privately for years, discussing their difficulties and trying to find a way forward.

A 2018 report commissioned by the city revealed 65 percent of Black workers in the city were paid less than $60,000 a year, compared with about one-third of the city’s White workers in the same pay range. While 9 percent of Black applicants who sought work in the city were hired, 33 percent of White applicants were hired.

The class action litigation currently names five plaintiffs, but employment attorneys in the case say as many as 1,000 could ultimately claim damages. Continue Reading ›

When it comes to employment discrimination, there is rarely a single incident by one person that can be pointed to as proof positive evidence of wrongdoing. More often than not, discriminatory actions are the result of a workplace culture where microaggressions, snarky comments or bigoted attitudes are excused – if not encouraged – time and again. This is also why there so often is more than one victim, even if they are affected in different ways. workplace racial discrimination

Recently, the former “head coach” of a Nike store in Santa Monica accused of racially profiling Black shoppers is now also accused of harassing and discriminating against the store’s Black employees. That’s according to a Los Angeles employment discrimination lawsuit filed last month.

According to the filing, as published by Bloomberg Law, two former employees at the Southern California store say that Nike and its former store manager are legally liable for racial discrimination, harassment, retaliation and more. They say the manager created a work environment that was not only pervasively hostile, but abusive. Many employees of color felt they had no choice but to resign. Most of those employees who quit were soon after replaced with White female workers. Continue Reading ›

Is the use of a single racial epithet enough to support a legal claim of harassment in California workplaces? Two lower courts weighing a discrimination/retaliation case said no, but the California Supreme Court will decide if that was the right call.racial discrimination lawyer

Plaintiff’s employment attorneys are arguing the the highly-offensive slur, directed toward plaintiff by a co-worker, was significant enough to support claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation and failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation under the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Plaintiff worked for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, and the slur was made by a co-worker. Plaintiff alleged this ultimately spurred retaliation by a supervisor.

FEHA, Previous Court Rulings on Racial Discrimination

As our Los Angeles racial discrimination attorneys can explain, the FEHA prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, and harassment is one form of discrimination. Courts have held that the law is violated when someone’s workplace is steeped in a culture of discriminatory intimidation, ridicule and insult that is “sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment.” Harassment can include verbal harassment, which encompasses slurs, derogatory comments or epithets.

To establish a case of a racially hostile work environment just on first impression (prima facie), the worker needs to show that:

  • He/she belonged to a protected class/
  • He/she was subjected to unwanted racial harassment.
  • The harassment was based on race.
  • The harassment unreasonably interfered with plaintiff’s work performance.
  • The employer is liable for the harassment.

Continue Reading ›

The hotel industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The Chateau Marmont in Hollywood is no exception, so it was no great shock when hundreds of employees were laid off in the wake of tanking bookings. But in the months since, speculation has increased that the layoffs may have been more of a calculated effort to tamp down unionization efforts by staffers, several of whom allege flagrant workplace racial discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation. racial discrimination

The Hollywood Reporter published an investigation into these claims against the landmark hotel late last year after speaking to more than 30 employees. In a recent follow-up, the publication revealed several employment lawsuits have been filed against the company and former CEO, who himself was accused of sexual misconduct by at least five employees.

The story is notable because dozens of employees broke the hospitality industry’s widely accepted code of silence to shine a light on what they say was longstanding racial discrimination and sexual misconduct that managers and owners were complicit in brushing aside, if not in perpetuating it themselves. The former owner firmly denied the allegations, but now will have to answer to some of them in court. Continue Reading ›

Unlawful gender and racial bias against women and Asians in the hiring process at Google will cost the company $2.6 million. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor is requiring the tech giant to review its practices for hiring and pay, fund an independent study on is own gender pay equity and provide the government routine updates on its efforts to reduce gender pay equity.employment attorney

The lawsuit came about as part of a federal government contractor audit of numerous Google sites in California, Washington state and New York. That analysis revealed numerous indicators that the company was not in compliance with an executive order that prohibits discrimination in federal contractor hiring and wages.

The analysis indicated that over a three-year span starting in 2014, the company paid female engineers in numerous offices (including in California) substantially less than male engineers for the same jobs. Further, evidence indicated the company discriminated against women and Asian applicants applying to be engineers at several California sites. Continue Reading ›

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