CA Race Discrimination Law Explained by an Employment Lawyer

CA Race Discrimination Law Explained by an Employment Lawyer

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Unfortunately, racial discrimination is
an everyday occurrence across workplaces in California. This video is about the
current status of California law and what you should do if you’re a victim of
race discrimination. Let’s first talk about California law.
The state of California law is very good when we’re talking about race
discrimination. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act is the main
anti-discrimination law in California. It can be found in the Governmental Code
Section 12940(a). That the foundational
anti-discrimination statute in California. That’s the statute that
lawyers like myself use on a daily basis to pursue claims for employees. Now, this
law is very favorable for employees. It applies to all employers who have five
or more employees, and there’s no cap on damages.
In contrast, the Federal law which does apply in California, but isn’t as
favorable, is called Title VII. That law is put out by the United States
federal government and is the main anti-discrimination law that applies
nationwide. However there are caps on damages and it applies to employers that
are 15 or more employees. So, what’s really important is that the lawyer that
you hire know to file the lawsuit under F EHA (if you’re in a California employee
obviously). What’s also very important to know is about the DFEH and the EEOC.
Most people have heard about the EEOC but less people have heard about the DFEH. These are both administrative agencies. The DFEH is set up by California, the
EEOC has been set up by the Federal government. Those agencies pursue claims on behalf of employees; so they kind of function like a lawyer (as you would
typically think of a lawyer). However, they’re limited: they’re limited in
budget, they’re limited in staff, and they’ve got a whole lot of cases. And
also, arguably, they don’t get as good a results as private employment lawyers. So, we highly recommend that before you run off to one of these agencies and have them
investigate for you, contact a private employment lawyer because that’s
usually a more financially rewarding option. But, more importantly, and the main reason why I bring up those administrative agencies is they issue
what is called a “right-to-sue letter.” The right-to-sue letter is very important
because there is a statute of limitations in
all race discrimination employment cases. That right-to-sue letter basically
stops the clock from ticking and restarts it as to when your claim
expires. So, I’m not going to tell you what the statute of limitation is
because there are several different types. What I will tell you tell you is
get a lawyer involved as soon as possible and that lawyer will get the
right-to-sue sue letter for you. And it’s really important that as soon as you’re
fired, or soon as they didn’t hire you due to your race, or as soon as you’re
demoted because of your race, that you contact an employment lawyer to see
what your statute of limitation is. Finally, when we’re talking about the
current status of the law, it’s really important if you work at a non-profit,
that you contact a lawyer who knows a little bit more about discrimination law
than most because the anti-discrimination law applies a
little bit differently to corporations that are non-profits. And finally if you
work for a public entity (a city estate or whatever) it’s a different statute of
limitations. It’s usually a lot shorter. So, if you work for a public employer and
you were just fired, or you just missed that promotion, and you believe it was
due to your race, contact a lawyer now. Don’t wait. Now that you know where the law can be
found and some of the basics, what does the law actually say? Well the Fair
Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) says that is an unlawful Employment Practice for an
employer to take an adverse action against an employee due to his or her
race. We all know in general what that means: you can’t fire somebody, or
demote them, or refuse to hire them, or cut their pay, or not promote them, or set
them up for failure. We all know that. But modern race discrimination cases aren’t
blatant, they’re very subtle. And it usually follows a pattern. It’s something
like this – an african-american worker shows up to work at her job that she’s
that been at for six months, but she’s five minutes late. The Caucasian
manager comes in and fires her for being late. But she knows that five of her
co-workers (all Caucasian) show up late every day and have never been
reprimanded. Likewise they all kind of make fun racial jokes to each other
that she can overhear, and the managers in on those jokes as well.
Well, that means very good indication that because she’s the only
african-american employee, and because the Caucasians are cut slack, she wasn’t.
The termination was motivated by race. That’s more of a modern look at
what race discrimination cases look like. Or how about this? There’s a Filipino
manager at a hospital and she’s in charge of the nursing care staff. And
there’s a lot of Filipinos who work underneath her. She hires a Caucasian
who is doing a great job, just as good as all the Filipino workers, but doesn’t go
and hang out, doesn’t have the inside jokes, doesn’t participate. Suddenly,
she gets written up for a small mistake that the Filipino workers
have also made. And then she gets fired for whatever reason, something that she
doesn’t even agree with. Yet she’s got all this circumstantial evidence
indicate that Filipino workers are preferred over her, the Caucasian worker.
She could contact a lawyer because she very well might have a good racial
discrimination case. That’s what modern race discrimination
cases look like. What we should look at now, is what you should do if you feel
like you’re a victim. If you’re the victim of race
discrimination – what should you do about it? And if you successfully prove your case, what can you get? Very good questions.
First and foremost, you should contact a lawyer to see if you have a case because
that lawyer is going to explain what you might be able to get. And typically what
lawyers will explain, is if you’re successful in winning your case, you can
get your economic damages. That’s your lost wages. If you are making
fifty or sixty thousand dollars a year, and then you’re fired due to your race,
you’re not making that money anymore! That’s a very tangible economic loss
that a jury can measure. If you’re fired because of your race, you also are highly
likely to experience what we call “emotional distress damages” or pain and
suffering. The emotional impact of discrimination, as we all know is
devastating. And that can have a devastating effect on that employee
where it makes it very hard for them to move on emotionally. Those damages
that are often the largest component of these cases. If you prove that the
termination was done, or the adverse employment action was done, with malice
oppression or fraud, you can win punitive damages. Now, everybody’s heard about
punitive damages. Those are the damages meant to punish the defendant
for the really atrocious conduct. But they are really difficult win and relatively rare.
Finally, because California is a greatest state in the Union, you can also win
attorney fees. Now, the client isn’t entitled to that (generally your attorney
gets the attorney fees). However, they are a significant hammer that often push cases
into an earlier settlement. Now, OK, a lot of people are really scared to
contact a lawyer in the first place because it scary to contact a lawyer.
Well, first of all, all consultations, at least of my office, and a lot of
employment attorney’s offices, are either free or very low in charge, so it’s definitely
worth your while to get a consultation. Secondarily, almost all employment
lawyers who represent employees work on a contingency basis. That means they only get paid at the end of the case when they successfully settle something for
you. Now, on a contingency basis – that means those lawyers are highly picky!
They don’t just take any case that comes their way. They want to pick good cases
because otherwise they won’t get paid. And pursuing good cases is really really
hard in and of itself (especially the more valuable ones). So, don’t be frustrated –
contact a couple lawyers until you find one that you like and that you trust and
the person you’re comfortable is going to pursue that case to its maximum value.
I hope you found this video helpful, take care.

5 thoughts on “CA Race Discrimination Law Explained by an Employment Lawyer

  • dix dix Post author

    I'm in Florida I recently filed race discrimination against my employer with EEOC. When I filled out my intake questionnaire, I also included my evidence which was texts, voice recordings of harassment, and confessions from a supervisor and co-workers about my boss's discrimination and retaliation to have me fired for reporting him for racial slurs and threats, also coworkers written complaints about witnessing me being harassed and discriminated against and 5 complaints written to my administrator, corporate office, and hr and these departments not properly resolving the issues.I was then sent a letter from EEOC saying the information I provided indicates title VII it also stated the document constitutes a charge of discrimination but before an investigation, I had to sign EEOC form 5 if I did not respond I would be issued a right to sue letter. what does this mean? Being that I submitted all of my evidence with the first questionnaire do I need to send any other info? Did I make the right decision by sending this evidence early with my questionnaire?

  • Brendon Post author

    You are a scumbag.  You profit off of government interference into private business practices.  A business should be able to hire or fire who ever it wants.  They pay the paycheck so they decide who get the paycheck.  Also California is not the "best state ever"  it is a nightmarish hellhole to open a business in the part of the reason so many businesses are leaving is regulations like the ones in the video.  Especially when the evidence is circumstantial.  In California lawyers leach off of everyone else and make the state a bad place to do business.  Shame on you!

  • ADL Anti-Definition League Post author

    Wow, you really got me with that pacific islander one. I thought for sure you were going to say the white employee got excluded because she wasn't in the ethnic clique but nope! Turns out, her complaint about the manager showing preference for other pacific islanders resulting in a firing was workplace discrimination. Guess it's just a one way street for us dirty racists!

  • born trinity Post author

    I'm in Texas can you please help

  • pgthinker007 Post author

    I am white, but I have been discriminated. I graduated from three universities (one overseas and two in the US in addition to two American technical schools ), and I never had a job. When recruiters hear I am from a different country…. you know what I mean.  Working for less than $9.00 an hour for 30 years. Today, I am 50+…  that's even worst.
    The bottom line is that I have never been proud of my achievements. This is why I keep my diplomas in a closet.

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