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Harmed by racial discrimination? The law is on your side

You might have thought that racial discrimination in the workplace would have ended during the civil rights revolution of the 60s. Unfortunately, workplace discrimination continues to persist.

In fact, most California workers who identify as a member of a minority race, nationality, religious group, sexuality or other protected status, will agree that they have experienced or witnessed countless examples of discrimination. Fortunately, if you have been harmed by racial discrimination, the law is on your side.

What does federal law say about workplace racial discrimination?

Most of the federal laws that protect you from racial discrimination are in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This section says that your employer cannot:

-- Refrain from hiring you as a result of your race;

-- Terminate your employment or discipline you based on your race;

-- Pay you less or offer you fewer benefits because of your race;

-- Refrain from giving you promotions, benefits or opportunities due to your race; or

-- Segregate you from other employees on account of your race.

Just the same as employers, employment agencies are also prohibited from discriminatory practices based on an individual's race. For example, imagine an accounting firm that asked an employment agency to search for white, college-educated employees. If the employment agency complied, it would have committed racial discrimination along with the employer. Also, labor unions cannot discriminate against who is permitted to join the union based on race.

Discrimination could be difficult to detect

Sometimes, discrimination is very subtle. For example, a Latino job applicant might not ever be able to determine if he or she was denied employment due to race, or due to the way he or she answered questions during a job interview.

One way to test for racial discrimination can take place during the litigation of a discrimination claim. A litigant can demand documentation relating to hiring trends and practices to determine if the employer is far more likely statistically to hire employees of one race or background over another race.

Protect your right to be free of racial discrimination

Victims of racial discrimination can file legal claims for justice and financial restitution. Not only can you seek legal protections to make the racial discrimination stop, but you can also pursue financial compensation for the injuries and harm that the discrimination has caused.

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