Articles Posted in racial discrimination

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  • One worker’s raise was revoked because of a purported mistake in salary calculations.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 ›

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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