Contact Us for a Free Consultation (310) 769-6836

Race Discrimination in California

This country has a long history of racism, and the state of California is no different. It has been built into institutions and ways of life. Discrimination based on race, however, is unlawful in many areas of our life, from housing to employment to public services and many other areas. While you may have implemented policies and practices to promote diversity and prevent discrimination, allegations of race discrimination can still arise, potentially leading to a lawsuit.

At Law Offices of Albert Chang, our race discrimination attorney in California understands what our clients have experienced in the race discrimination lawsuits filed against them and will guide you through in defending such lawsuits. Contact us today by filling out our ONLINE FORM or calling us at (310) 769-6836 to schedule a free consultation today.

What Constitutes Race Discrimination in the Workplace?

Federal and California law prohibits any type of discrimination based on a person's race. Racial discrimination in the workplace occurs when a current employee, or an applicant for a job, is treated unfavorably because of their race. Employees or applicants may also experience race discrimination because of a relationship they have with a person of a different race. It is also possible for a person to racially discriminate against someone of their own race. 

Racial discrimination includes unfavorable treatment due to a person's characteristics that are typically associated with a particular race. This includes the color of their skin, the texture of their hair, and other physical traits. 

Another related type of discrimination is color discrimination. Color discrimination occurs when an employee or applicant is treated unfavorably based on the complexion, or color, of their skin. 

Keep in mind that many states offer more protections based on race and color. If you are in California, contact Law Offices of Albert Chang to get a better understanding of our state's laws on race discrimination. This is also important because the process to address race discrimination in the workplace varies from state to state, too.

Types of Racial Discrimination in the Workplace in California

Discrimination based on race is rarely carried out in a direct, overt manner. Most employers will not tell an applicant they are not getting the position because they are Asian, Indian, or black. Most employers will not tell their employees that their co-workers who are white got the jobs because they are white. However, race or color discrimination can happen in less overt ways through what are known as disparate treatment and disparate impact.

Disparate Treatment

Disparate treatment, often viewed as intentional discrimination, occurs when people of one race are treated differently than people of another race. For example, a store may hire both white people and black people, but only the white employees interact with customers while the black employees work behind the scenes stocking or packing products. Disparate treatment can occur in other ways, too, like giving better benefits to employees of one race over another race or reprimanding employees differently for the same poor performance or poor behavior.

Disparate Impact   

Disparate impact can be unintentional and occurs when a facially neutral company policy, procedure, process, or requirement has an adverse effect on employees of a certain race or color. For example, an employer may have a policy prohibiting the hiring of people who have a criminal record, but people with a criminal record impact black and brown people more than white people.

Examples of Race/Color Discrimination in California

While some types of racial and color discrimination are obvious, others are more subtle. Below are descriptions of some of the more common ways people experience race discrimination in California.


Racial harassment remains pervasive in many workplaces. Harassment involves the use of racial slurs, racist jokes, and offensive messages by anyone in the workplace. Harassment must create a hostile work environment, meaning simple teasing – even if harmful – does not constitute unlawful racial harassment. 


Stereotyping occurs when the same characteristics are assumed in all members of a certain group. Personal differences are not taken into consideration. Generally speaking, stereotyping focuses on negative traits and is based on false beliefs and misconceptions.

Racial Profiling

As a type of stereotyping, racial profiling occurs when stereotypes about race drive an action that is taken for public protection, safety, or security. Race is used as a basis for suspecting or accusing a person of having engaged in illegal activity.

Associational Discrimination

Associational discrimination occurs when a person is treated in an unfavorable manner due to their association with a person of a different race. They could be the person's spouse, other family members, or friends. 


Racial prejudice occurs when a person has preconceived notions about someone based solely on their race. Due to these negative feelings, they treat the person as less than others. 

Same-Race Discrimination

While most racism occurs between two people of different races, it is possible for racism to occur between two people of the same race. Treating someone less favorably due to their race is still racism no matter the race of the person committing the unfair acts. 

What Should Employers in California Do to Prevent Race Discrimination?

Employers should be proactive to prevent racial discrimination from occurring at their place of business. Following are some of the steps they can take to ensure this type of misconduct does not occur at their company. 

Provide Training

Perhaps one of the most important things an employer can do is provide clear, inclusive training to all employees, from top leadership to anyone that works for the company. Training should be clear on what is, and what is not, tolerated. A company culture that embraces differences should be welcomed by all. 

Also, training is not something that should happen just once or only when a new employee starts their job. It should be done on a regular basis, incorporating any new legal developments.

Use Neutral Criteria In Hiring

Employers should make certain that the criteria used in hiring new employees are neutral, and are not unfairly biased toward a certain person or group of people. Criteria should be based on the duties and functions of the position. The pool of candidates for all positions should be diverse. 

Establish Fair Standards For Promotion

Promotion criteria should be known to all employees. This also includes making all employees aware of when a new position becomes available. Criteria should be fair across the board. Promotions and raises should be based on an employee's performance of their job duties. 

Zero Tolerance and Established Punishment Protocols

Leadership needs to be clear that discriminatory behaviors will not be tolerated, including what that constitutes and what the penalties may be for it. These rules must be enforced fairly and evenly with all employees. Also, when a complaint is made by an employee, the employer should have a protocol in place to prevent retaliation when a person complains about racial discrimination. 

Contact Our Office Today

At Law Offices of Albert Chang, our employment law lawyer based in California understands how facing a race discrimination lawsuit as an employer can be challenging. You don't have to navigate it alone as we am here to provide you with the guidance and representation you need. If you find yourself in this challenging situation, contact us today by filling out our ONLINE FORM or calling us at (310) 769-6836 to schedule a free consultation and to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Schedule Consultation

The first 30 minutes consultation is free. Please contact us through filling out our ONLINE FORM and we will contact you within one (1) business day to schedule an initial consultation.

You can also call us at (310) 769-6836 or directly schedule your initial consultation at our SCHEDULING PAGE .