If My Race Caused a Wage Reduction, Can I Sue My Employer?

Racial discrimination is unlawful and protected against in both federal and California law. If your employer has discriminated against you and reduced your pay because of your race, you may have the legal grounds to file a lawsuit against your employer. The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is your law firm of Los Angeles attorneys and is here to offer quality representation when you want to move forward and take legal action against your employer.

It was not long ago that employers could and did discriminate against employees because of their race: if the employer was racist, they could simply treat the employee in any way they wanted and the minority-employee could do nothing about it. After centuries of strife and struggle by those who fought for equality, Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This made it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against employees and applicants because of their race (along with their sex, country of origin, religion, and other such factors).

Can I Sue My Employer for Racial Discrimination?

While many employers do follow the law and do not discriminate against people because of their race, there are still some employers who look at the world and people through the bifocals of prejudice and racism. Unfortunately, they still discriminate against applicants and employees because of their race, and some may not even be aware of their own implicit biases towards minorities like Black people, Latinos, Asians, Middle Easterners, and more. Regardless of whether their intentions were of antiquated malice or implicit bias, discriminating against race is against the law in every facet of the employment process, from interviewing, hiring, and promotions, and even salary to termination, and layoffs. Employers cannot treat employees differently or unfavorably because of their race.

If you believe that your employer has discriminated against you because of your race and deducted your pay because of it, you may have the legal grounds to file a lawsuit against your employer.

The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group, qualified employment lawyers in Los Angeles, is here to ensure that justice is served if your employer has violated the law. We help people every single day answer questions regarding any future steps they can take if they believe their employer has discriminated against them because of their race. Examples of such questions include:

  • Can I sue my employer if my pay was reduced because of my race?
  • Can I file a discrimination claim if my pay was cut because of racial prejudice?
  • My employer did not give me my bonuses because he is a racist. Can he legally do that? Can I sue the company for racial discrimination?
  • Can I sue my boss if he reduced my hours because of my race?
  • Can I sue my employer if he lowered my salary because of my race?
  • Can I file a lawsuit against my employer if he forced me to go on furlough because he is a racist?

When Does Race Discrimination Occur?

Race discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee differently or unfavorably solely because of their race. Discrimination is unlawful throughout all possible branches of the employment process – your employer cannot discriminate against you and give you a lesser position, or skip our on your due raises, or demote you, or even reduce your pay just because of your race.

For example, you are a Black man working for a company, and there is a promotion available. You know for a fact that you are the most qualified person in your department and the promotion should be yours by merit alone. Your employer, however, is afraid that their old white clients may not feel comfortable talking to someone is Black and so does not give you the promotion and instead gives it to a less qualified white male. This is race discrimination because it was not your qualifications that played a major role in your non-promotion, it was your race.

Can My Employer Reduce My Pay Because of My Race?


Your employer is not legally allowed to discriminate in any way against your race. The anti-discrimination laws which protect against employer discrimination apply to your salary as well. The only way your employer can legally reduce your salary is if your work performance has not been up to standard and your evaluations show that perhaps you are not yet worthy of that salary. So, for example, if you are a Latina with excellent work performance and you can perform the essential job functions of your occupation, your employer may be violating the law and discriminating against you because of your race.

How Can I Show That My Employer Acted Against Me Because of Race?


There are two ways that you can prove that your employer discriminated against you because of your race: either with direct evidence or circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence is difficult to come by because it requires that your employer directly state that your reduction in salary was entirely due to your race. Many employers are aware of the anti-discrimination laws that are in place and so will try to mask it under some other pretense. If your employer has not directly stated that your race was the reason for your demotion, then you will have to rely on circumstantial evidence. In order to prove that your employer acted on your race with circumstantial evidence you need to show the following four conditions:

  • That you are a member of a protected class, for example, that you are a minority whose been historically discriminated against;
  • That you were qualified for the position and were able to perform the essential job functions;
  • That your employer took adverse action against you, for example, that your salary was reduced;
  • That a member that is not of your protected group did not suffer the same consequences as you, for example, your white coworker, who has even fewer qualifications than you, did not get the same salary cut.

If you believe that your employer has reduced your salary and discriminated against you just because of your race, you may have the option to file a lawsuit against your employer. The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is here to help you get the legal assistance you need and make sure that justice is served. We offer free consultation and the zero-fee guarantee, so there is no financial obligation or risk on your part! Contact us today to see what we can do for you.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.