Articles Tagged with racial discrimination

One does not necessarily need to be a direct target of California workplace sexual harassment or racial discrimination to file a legal claim for damages. Retaliation against bystanders for brining such offenses to light can have a devastating impact on one’s career. Employers have been known to respond to bystander reports of harassment and discrimination by giving whistleblowers less desirable shifts or duties, shutting them out from key professional opportunities/accounts/clients, or outright firing them.Riverside sexual harassment lawyer

Fortunately, as our Riverside sexual harassment attorneys can explain, there are legal remedies for those who speak out to protect those most vulnerable in the workforce. One such case recently ended with a $460 million damage award to two plaintiffs in Los Angeles who alleged they were forced out of their jobs at the local electricity company after blowing the whistle on rampant sexual harassment and tolerance of racial epithets.

The Los Angeles Times reported the damage award included $440 million in punitive damages alone. Plaintiff attorney’s had only asked the court for a quarter of that amount. That’s on top of tens of millions in compensatory damages paid. Punitive damages, for those who may not know, are paid to penalize the defendant for especially egregious conduct. Compensatory damages, meanwhile, are intended to cover a plaintiff’s actual losses (loss of wages, loss of benefits, loss of career advancement opportunities, emotional distress, etc.).

The company, which plans to appeal, acknowledged that the two reported that supervisors were engaging in sexually inappropriate conduct toward female employees. Plaintiffs alleged that the company had fostered a fraternity-like culture, where sexual harassment and racial harassment were not only the norm, but actively protected. Reported incidents were allegedly disregarded. Continue Reading ›

Both federal and state anti-discrimination laws cover most employers in California. These laws prevent employers from firing or taking other adverse action against workers on the basis of their gender, race, ethnicity, pregnancy, nationality, disability, etc. However, as our Riverside employment lawyers can explain, religious institutions – including schools – are often protected by something known as the ministerial exception. What sometimes throws people is that:

  • One does not need to be an actual minister – or even administrator – for the exception to be applicable.
  • The ministerial exception may protect religious institutions from claims of employment discrimination that aren’t solely about religious discrimination.ministerial exception California

The California Supreme Court in the past has expressed empathy for employees at religious institutes (mostly schools) unable to sue for employment discrimination under the law when they’d otherwise be able to, but for the ministerial exception. It remains a significant barrier to some claims.

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a racial harassment, discrimination, and retaliation claim by a California Catholic high school principal, who the court found qualified as a minister under the ministerial exception. 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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

A Black employee for Facebook, represented by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, has alleged in a complaint he experienced racial discrimination at the firm, being denied promotions and pay raises and receiving unfair evaluations, despite “excellent” work performance. Meanwhile, two job applicants say they were denied the opportunity to work for the company – despite being qualified – because of their skin color.Los Angeles racial discrimination

According to the Associated Press, the employee was employed as an operations program manager at the social media firm. Facebook said it is committed to investigating allegations of racism. The AP reports that like many Silicon Valley companies, Black workers are underrepresented, accounting for less than 4 percent of the total number of Facebook employees and only 1.5 percent of the company’s technical workers.

Allegations of racial discrimination have been leveled before at the company. Although CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared last month that, “Black lives matter,” previous employees say the tech firm hasn’t made racial diversity a priority. Continue Reading ›

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month sparked a global outcry over policing practices and a notable shift in the conversation over the Black Lives Matter movement. It also set off an avalanche of response from corporate America, which rushed to express solidarity with the black community, some promising billions of dollars collectively to advance the causes of racial equality and justice. Public reaction to this has been mixed, in part because it’s unprecedented; companies have been largely silent on this issue before now, despite the fact that it’s not a new one (as those of us in Los Angeles well know). But the other skepticism stems from the fact that many firms don’t appear to be as vigilant on equity and diversity within their own ranks. racial discrimination attorney

Social justice advocates point out that racial disparities go far beyond policing and are calling on these companies to closely examine their hiring and promotion practices for possible racial bias.

As our Los Angeles racial discrimination lawyers can explain, lots of companies have committed to diversity in years past, some on their own and some because a court ordered them to do so. But in many corporations, there remains significant unchecked structural bias for people of color and also women. Continue Reading ›

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