How to Legally Approach Racial Discrimination at Work

Find A California Labor Law Attorney for Racial Discrimination Claims


An employee's racial background and characteristics should never be a factor when an employer makes employment decisions. If you have been the target of Workplace Racial Discrimination, contact a Labor Lawyer in California to help you file a lawsuit.


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What Qualifies as Workplace Racial Discrimination in California?


In the workplace, racial discrimination means treating someone negatively (whether an applicant or an employee) because of their race or race-related personal qualities (such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features).


Discrimination based on race or color in the workplace can also involve treating someone unfairly because they are married to or have loved ones of a certain race or color.

Race affecting employment situation

The legislation outlaws discrimination in the workplace in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, salary, work assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.


Racially-charged harassment


Harassment of a person based on their race or color is against the law. Racial insults, insulting or disrespectful comments regarding a person's race or color, or the display of racially inappropriate symbols are all examples of harassment.

Although casual jokes, offhand remarks, or isolated events are not prohibited, harassment becomes illegal when it occurs on a regular or extreme basis. This is especially crucial when it results in a hostile or offensive work environment or an unfavorable job decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser could be the victim's boss, a supervisor from another department, a coworker, or someone else in the workplace who is not an employer's employee.

Discriminatory or tone-deaf company policies


A company policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of race or color, may be illegal if it harms the employment of people of a particular race or color and is not work-related or appropriate for the organization's operations.

The most common example of this is when a company decides to apply grooming and dress codes without considering an employee's racial qualities (i.e., banning protective hairstyles when there are African-American employees who need them).


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Employee classification and segregation


Title VII is violated when minority workers are physically isolated from other employees or client interactions. It is also unlawful to remove minorities from certain positions or arrange or categorize people or employment so that minorities are disproportionately represented in certain occupations.


When employers or employment agencies code CVs or resumes to signify an individual's race, then it is an act of discrimination. Minorities are barred from employment or specific roles as a result of this coding.

Pre-Employment data


Pre-employment data that reveals or purports to reveal an individual's race can sometimes be illegally used to sort recruits. As a result, if minority groups are denied employment, the request for such pre-employment information will almost probably be evidence of workplace discrimination.


Employers may, however, have a legitimate need for ethnicity information on their employees or candidates for affirmative action or to keep track of the applicant flow. Employers can utilize notes to classify an applicant's race to collect demographic information while also protecting against biased selection. After the applicant completes the application, the employer should remove their notes from the application and should not use them in the selection process.


Not all discrimination claims are going to look the same. If you are in any way unsure of your claim, consult an expert California Labor Law Attorney to look through your case.


How Do I Know I'm a Target of Workplace Racial Discrimination?


You must be vigilant because discrimination can be overt or hidden. If you're suspicious of bias, chances are you've already noticed some signs of it at work.


Keep an eye out for the following:

  1. The use of derogatory language. The use of racial slurs is one of the most visible signs of discrimination. Consider going to HR and documenting these situations if you detect your coworkers or boss using them on you.

  2. Even though you're more deserving, you're passed over for promotions. Even if you've worked hard, you may find that some of your coworkers (who you believe deserve it less than you) are getting promoted while you're being passed over again and again.

  3. Because of your race, your employer declined to hire you. You may have observed some signs, or they may have specifically stated that your race or color is one reason they are unable to recruit you. This is a violation of the law, and you have grounds for discrimination if it occurs.

  4. Your boss or HR department is dismissing your complaints about a toxic workplace. When coworkers mistreat you, the first thing you should do is report them to your employer or HR. You may have a claim if they continue to dismiss your complaints, even if the treatment is affecting your ability to work.

  5. You are being watched more closely than your coworkers. You may observe that your coworkers make the same mistakes or work the same hours as you, yet you're the only one who's constantly told to "improve" or "do better next time".

  6. You're being punished for filing a complaint with HR or an agency. This could happen if your employer retaliates against you by demoting you, reducing your pay, or suspending you for filing an HR complaint about racial discrimination at work.

  7. You were fired due to racial discrimination. If you have a suspicion that you were fired because of your race or color, you should file a claim as soon as possible. This is most definitely a case of Wrongful Termination, according to your California Employment Attorney.

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What Proof Should I Start Collecting?

  • Photos and videos. If you believe you are being harassed or retaliated against, keep notice of the signs. Take pictures of your boss or HR ignoring coworkers who are discriminating against you, for example.

  • However, you should proceed with caution because acquiring this form of proof (i.e., filming another person) can exacerbate existing tensions (or, worse, disagreements), so proceed with prudence.

  • Messages that are sent over the internet. Your work emails, chat rooms, and SMS messages could all be evidence of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Keep any emails or conversations in which your boss or HR suggests you're being fired for illegal reasons.

  • Documentation, paper trails, and notices. These documents could be used as evidence that your employer is retaliating against you (i.e., demotions, suspensions, and pay cuts). If you've recently filed a Labor Law Claim with an agency, these are extremely important to monitor.

While there is a lot of evidence you may acquire on your own, you may still run into problems if your workplace is already hostile or if you've been wrongfully terminated as a result of the discrimination. Hiring a California Employment Law Attorney can help.


Find A Workplace Racial Discrimination Attorney in California


No win, no fees! Gency.org can help you find a Contingency Lawyer for your Employment Cases in California. You can complete our submission form for a free case review.

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