Steps to Take If You Are a Victim of Racial Discrimination
If you are a victim of racial discrimination at work, you may have the grounds to file a lawsuit against your employer for their blatant disregard for the law. Before you can file your claim against your employer for race discrimination, there are a few steps you need to take in order for your lawsuit to be considered legitimate. The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is here to represent you, and guide you through every step of the way and ensure that your claim is taken seriously and submitted through the legal process.
We help people like you every day, and help answer questions regarding their right and any next steps. Examples of such questions include:
- Steps to take if you have been the victim of racial discrimination at work
- What should I do if my boss racially discriminates against me?
- What to do if your boss discriminates against your race
Steps to Take Before You File a Lawsuit
- Alert Your Employer
You may not have to file a full legal lawsuit against your employer. If you feel like you are being discriminated against for your race, it is more likely than not that your employer does not know that such an occurrence is happening. Often, the victim of race discrimination does not make it clear to the employer, and unfortunately, it is up to the employee to bring it up to the employer. Talking to your Human Resources (HR) representative and making a formal complaint with them is a good way to make it official. If the employer continues to allow the race discrimination, then you may have to take serious action.
- Keep a Journal for Your Records
Take note of any incidents of discrimination or harassment that you experience. Make sure that your record the date, the time, location, who was involved in the incident, any witnesses to the discrimination/harassment, and detail the kind of discrimination you experienced and what was said.
For example, your journal entry might include such information as, “On November 21, 2017, I was refilling my water bottle with the water cooler when Chad Williams (supervisor) said, ‘As long as I am the head-honcho here there will never be a colored person in a high position.’ Issa Collins and Kurt Vonn (coworkers) were there at the time and heard him say it.”
- Photograph and Keep Any Objects
Pictures that were shared, posted, left for, or given to you in the workplace that you believe are offensive, discriminatory, and creates a hostile work environment should be kept.
For example, if you are an African American and when you get to your desk you find a banana with a racial slur written on it, you may want to photograph it and bring it to your employer. Having visual evidence will help prove your case.
- Review Your Company’s Anti-Discrimination Policy
Your employer may have their own policies, outside of any federal and state laws, which explicitly state that discrimination in the workplace will not be tolerated. Retain a copy of your employee handbook or anything else that states discrimination will not be tolerated, it will bolster your case.
Filing a Case Against Your Employer
If you have brought up the discrimination to your employer and they have done nothing to deter the behavior, your next step is to file a lawsuit against your employer. Before you can sue and take them to court, however, you must first file a charge with an employment government agency. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the agency at the federal level, and the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) is the agency at the state level. Both are available to you. The EEOC and DFEH are in work sharing agreement – when you file a charge with one agency, an identical copy is created and sent to the other agency. This is called “dual filing” and is meant to fully protect your rights under both state and federal laws.
Because both federal and state laws have their anti-discrimination laws and prohibit race discrimination in the workplace, the deadline to file your charge is extended from 180 days, to 300 calendar day. This is 300 days from the day you experienced the race discrimination. If the discrimination was ongoing, then it’s 300 calendar days from the day you last received the form of discrimination.
Once the agency launches an investigation, you can then request a “right-to-sue” letter which gives you the go-ahead to sue your employer and take them to court. It is recommended that you only request the right-to-sue letter only once you and your attorney are ready to pursue further action as you only have 90 days to take action against your employer.
What You Need to File a Charge with a Government Agency
Whether you file your charge with the EEOC or the DFEH, you will need a couple of things to ensure that everything goes well. You have the option of doing a walk-in, or mailing it in.
If you want to go into an agency, you should check with their walk-in/appointment policy as every office has different regulations. Bring any important documentation that may help your case. Once in, they will have you fill out paperwork to get your charge started.
If you want to mail it in, here is a checklist of all the things you’ll need to include in your envelope:
- Your name, address, telephone number;
- Name, address, telephone number of the employer you want to file a lawsuit against;
- The number of employees employed (if it is known) ;
- A description of the events that has led you to believe you have experienced discrimination (were you fired, harassed, demoted, denied benefits?);
- When and where the events took place, and any witnesses that were present to experience the discrimination;
- Name, address, telephone number of those witnesses;
- The kind of discrimination you experienced and how it relates to your case (for example, “I was fired because I am Latino and experienced Race Discrimination);
- Your signature – it is crucial that you include your signature in the document because, without it, the agency cannot legally launch their investigation.
The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is here to ensure that justice is served. We offer free consultation and the zero-fee guarantee – if we don’t prove your case, you don’t pay for our services. Call us today to see how we can protect you!