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San Diego Race Discrimination Attorney

Workplace discrimination based on race remains a harsh reality for too many employees in San Diego and nationwide. Whether you have experienced racist remarks, jokes, harassment, unfair policies, or termination due to your race, you have legal protections under state and federal law. Standing up to racial discrimination takes courage, but you don’t have to handle it alone. An experienced San Diego race discrimination lawyer can evaluate your situation, advise you of your rights, and fight to hold your employer accountable if needed.

What is Race Discrimination in the Workplace According to San Diego Employment Law?

California has strong laws prohibiting race discrimination and harassment in the workplace. These laws protect employees and job applicants from being treated unfairly or denied opportunities based on race. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) expressly forbids discrimination in hiring, promotions, terminations, pay, or any other term or condition of employment based on race. Employers also cannot segregate, classify, or limit employees in a way that deprives them of employment opportunities or otherwise discriminates against them due to race. Under FEHA, unlawful race discrimination includes:

  • Using slurs, derogatory remarks, stereotypes related to an employee or applicant’s race
  • Making employment decisions based on racial bias rather than qualifications
  • Restricting certain positions only to employees of a certain race
  • Paying workers of color less for the same work done by white employees
  • Failing to provide the same opportunities for advancement to minority employees
  • Wrongfully terminating an employee based on their race

California law also prohibits workplace harassment that creates an intimidating or hostile environment for employees of a particular race. Common racial harassment behaviors include offensive jokes, name calling, graffiti or images demeaning to certain racial groups. Employees who experience or witness race discrimination in their California workplace have legal protections. FEHA makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against workers who report discriminatory practices. Violations of California’s race discrimination laws can result in substantial civil penalties against employers. Victims of discrimination may also recover lost wages, emotional distress damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.

Examples of Racial Discrimination In The Workplace 

Over the last decade, race discrimination has consistently ranked as one of the most common types of workplace discrimination. In 2021 alone, over 31,000 race-based discrimination charges were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).While overt racism has become less socially acceptable in most workplaces, it still rears its ugly head far too often. Racial bias also manifests in more subtle ways through patterns of unfair treatment, hostile attitudes, and policies that disadvantage employees of color. Some examples of unlawful race discrimination include:

  • Derogatory racial slurs, harassment, or intimidation
  • Biased hiring practices that favor white candidates
  • Paying employees of color less than white employees for the same work
  • Restricting promotion opportunities based on race
  • Firing, demoting, or punishing someone due to their race

Protected Classes Under California & Federal Law

Employees in California are protected from racial discrimination and harassment under both state and federal laws. Key statutes include:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – Prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, and sex. Applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
  • California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) – Bans discrimination and harassment in employment based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, and other protected classes. Applies to all employers with 5 or more employees.

The FEHA also expressly prohibits discrimination based on physical characteristics associated with race, such as hair texture and protective hairstyles.

The Severe Impact of Race Discrimination

Being targeted by racism in the workplace can negatively impact nearly every aspect of someone’s life. Victims report serious psychological trauma similar to PTSD symptoms such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, anger issues, and difficulty concentrating.Discrimination also leads to reduced productivity and performance at work due to constant stress. Many people feel forced to quit jobs they would otherwise keep for years.The financial costs stack up as well – lost wages, diminished earning capacity, hefty medical bills from mental health treatment, etc.

Document Everything If You Face Discrimination

If you believe you are the victim of discrimination based on your race or color, taking prompt action is critical. The first step is to start documenting every incident from the very beginning.Tracking details in real-time will help strengthen your claim later. Important information to record includes:

  • Date, time, place each incident occurred
  • Names of perpetrators and witnesses
  • Exact statements, slurs, threats made
  • Description of any unfair policies or treatment
  • Screenshots of texts, emails, social media posts
  • Photos of offensive graffiti, images, property damage (if applicable)

File a Discrimination Claim with the EEOC

Before filing a lawsuit for racial discrimination, employees must first submit a complaint to the EEOC or California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing. These agencies will investigate the allegations against your employer to determine if discrimination laws were violated. The administrative complaint process typically takes about 10 months. But it varies significantly based on the workload of the investigating agency. Of course, reaching a successful EEOC mediation or settlement requires savvy negotiation skills. An attorney knows how to present your case in the best light and maximize your financial recovery.

Why Choose Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers?

With an abundance of law firms to choose from, what sets Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers apart for victims of race discrimination? Our employment attorneys have decades of experience specifically fighting race discrimination in San Diego workplaces on behalf of employees. We have handled dozens of cases involving:

  • Racial slurs, taunting, threats by managers and coworkers
  • Unfair policies that disproportionately affect minorities
  • Wrongful termination based on race
  • Retaliation for reporting racist discrimination

We offer both vigorous legal advocacy to hold employers financially accountable as well as compassionate support during an incredibly difficult time. Racial discrimination can negatively impact nearly every aspect of a victim’s life. We understand how traumatic these experiences are. Our track record of results speaks for itself. We have successfully negotiated numerous six and seven-figure settlements in race discrimination cases. And we are fully prepared to go to court if an satisfactory settlement cannot be reached.

Step-by-Step Guide to Fighting Race Discrimination

Dealing with racism on the job is challenging enough without having to navigate complex California and federal employment laws. This step-by-step guide breaks down the process for standing up to racial discrimination at work and asserting your legal rights:

Step 1: Identify Discriminatory Conduct

  • Notice patterns of unfair policies, practices, behaviors targeted at you or employees of a certain race
  • Discrimination may be blatant like slurs or subtle like lack of promotion opportunities

Step 2: Document Every Incident

  • Track specifics like dates, times, places, names, word-for-word statements
  • Save emails, texts, photos, videos, screenshots, etc.
  • Keep documentation at home or with your attorney

Step 3: Report Discrimination Internally

  • Notify HR and management about the race discrimination in writing
  • Give details about each incident and the parties involved
  • Request a formal investigation into unlawful practices

Step 4: File a Complaint with the EEOC

  • Submit an EEOC employment discrimination charge
  • Outline the discriminatory incidents, corresponding dates, and basis (race)
  • Cooperate with EEOC investigation process (typically takes about 10 months)

Step 5: Consult an Employment Discrimination Lawyer

  • Speak with an attorney about your legal options
  • An attorney can negotiate with HR or file a lawsuit on your behalf
  • Legal counsel is especially important if you suffered retaliation for reporting

Do not delay – strict deadlines apply. Call (619) 550-1355 now to discuss your case.

Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers’ Proven Results

Our track record of results provides the credibility clients need to feel confident in our services. Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers takes an aggressive approach to seek maximum compensation, with a willingness to go to court if needed. We have recovered over $100 million for injured clients over the years through settlements and verdicts. Dozens of our cases have resulted in individual settlements exceeding $1 million. While each race discrimination case has unique aspects, a few examples of our notable recoveries include:

  • $1.7 million verdict for an immigrant worker subjected to daily racial slurs and harassment. He was also denied promotions given to less qualified white employees.
  • $2.1 million settlement for a group of Hispanic construction workers who were paid significantly less than white employees doing the same work.
  • $2.8 million verdict for a Native American woman fired shortly after reporting her manager’s offensive racial “jokes” to HR. She was falsely accused of poor performance.

Our aggressive legal advocacy puts pressure on employers to pay substantial financial damages. Settlements provide compensation for lost income, emotional distress, attorney fees, and punitive damages to prevent future misconduct.

Race Discrimination In The Workplace FAQs

Racial discrimination in the workplace leads to many questions about employees’ rights, company responsibilities, and the legal process. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

What should I do if a coworker makes an offensive racist remark?

Document the specifics – who said it, exactly what they said, when and where it occurred, names of witnesses present. Report the incident directly to your HR department and supervisor immediately, even if informal. This creates a record you reported the issue promptly before filing an EEOC complaint.

Can I be fired for complaining to my employer about race discrimination?

No, it is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for opposing discrimination in the workplace. Protected activities include filing internal complaints with management or HR, submitting EEOC charges, participating in investigations/lawsuits, or otherwise speaking out against unlawful practices based on race.

What monetary damages could I recover from my company?

If your employer is found liable for racial discrimination, they can be ordered to compensate for lost wages, lost earning capacity, emotional distress, medical costs, punitive damages, attorney fees, litigation expenses, and more. The total value depends on the case specifics. Many settlements reach well into the six or seven figures.

Who enforces laws against race discrimination in the workplace?

On the federal level, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces workplace discrimination laws. In California, it is the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Employees must file a complaint with one of these agencies before pursuing a private lawsuit against their employer.*

Can I still sue if I signed an NDA or arbitration agreement with my employer?

Yes, generally you can still bring statutory discrimination claims in court against your employer regardless of agreements you signed. But you have strict deadlines to file suit after exhausting the EEOC process, so consulting an attorney promptly is key.

What if I don’t have strong evidence of race discrimination?

Even without “smoking gun” evidence, an attorney can still build a solid case using circumstantial evidence, testimony from witnesses, patterns of unfair treatment, suspicious timing of adverse actions, etc. There are also ways to legally compel employers to produce documentation during discovery.

Can I sue for discrimination that happened more than a year ago?

In California, you must file an administrative complaint within one year of the most recent incident of discrimination or harassment. This deadline gets paused if you utilize your employer’s internal complaint process. An attorney can advise you based on the specifics of your case.

If I win my case, is the money I receive taxable?

No, monetary damages awarded in a race discrimination lawsuit generally are not considered taxable income under federal law. This includes portions for lost wages, emotional distress, medical costs, and attorney fees. But punitive damages over a threshold may be taxable. Consult with an attorney.*

Get Free Consultation From Our San Diego Race Discrimination Lawyer at Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers

Fighting race discrimination is extremely taxing emotionally and financially. We believe clients deserve compassionate legal counsel and excellent service through every phase of the legal process. We make ourselves available 24/7 to address client concerns. If you face racial discrimination, harassment, unfair policies, or termination based on your race, contact Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers immediately to discuss your legal options. Call (619) 550-1355 for a free consultation with an experienced race discrimination attorney.


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