San Francisco Race Discrimination Attorney

What is Race Discrimination?

Race discrimination in the workplace involves treating an individual job applicant or employee differently because he or she is of a certain race, or because the individual has personal characteristics that are associated with a racial background (including race-linked diseases, cultural characteristics linked to race, or physical characteristics associated with race, such as skin complexion, hair texture or facial features).

Racial discrimination is a violation of both federal and state laws. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex and to retaliate against a person who is involved in raising a discrimination claim against an employer. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of many individual factors, including race, as well as retaliation for filing a complaint, testifying, or assisting in proceedings related to practices forbidden by the Act.

Claims of race and color discrimination in the workplace fall into a few broad categories.

A Closer Look

Unfortunately even with protective laws in place, employees are still treated differently due to their race. In fact, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported it received 91,503 charges of discrimination in the workplace in 2016, with 35% of those being race discrimination claims alone. Race discrimination comes in at number two on the most frequently filed EEOC claims list behind retaliation charges. Let’s take a closer look at the statistics surrounding this type of race discrimination in the workplace.

san francisco race discrimination lawyer

Do I Have A Racial Discrimination Claim?

It is unlawful to treat an employee differently on account of his or her race in recruitment, hiring, promotion, work assignments, wages, benefits, leave, discipline, and termination. To prove a race discrimination claim, an employee generally must show that:

The following types of conduct could be considered discriminatory:


Hiring and Promotion


Discipline, Demotion, and Discharge


Race discrimination occurs when an individual endures harassing behaviors related to his or her race or associated factors from supervisors, employees, customers, or commercial contacts that are (1) unwelcome and (2) so severe and pervasive that they “alter the conditions of the individual’s employment” by creating a hostile or abusive work environment. In evaluating whether a case would rise to the level of unlawful harassment, factors that are considered include whether the conduct was hostile and/or offensive, whether the individual was physically threatened or intimidated, how frequently the misconduct was repeated, and the context in which the harassment occurred.

How Do You Know if You are Being Racially Harassed?

The following types of verbal or physical conduct can constitute harassment:

Who Is Liable for Racial Discrimination?

Under California law, an employer is liable when a manager or supervisor engages in race discrimination. Where a co-worker engages in racial harassment, the employer is liable if it knew or should have known about the instances of discrimination and failed to take appropriate corrective action.

In addition, employers are liable for harassment by their customers or clients if they know or should have known about the harassment and fail to take action, regardless of the importance of the customer or client to the employer’s business.

What Must Employers Do to Prevent Racial Discrimination?

The FEHA requires that all California employers take affirmative steps to prevent racial discrimination in the workplace. This includes maintaining and distributing a written anti-discrimination policy that must:

How to Avoid Race Discrimination

Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recommends the following proactive measures designed to avoid inadvertent discrimination:

Contact A Race Discrimination Lawyer Today

At Rukin Hyland, we represent employees that have experienced discrimination due to their race or color. If you have experience race discrimination in the workplace, contact us at (415) 421-1800 to schedule your free consultation.