Many workplaces and their cultures try to advertise themselves as civil and welcoming, supportive of employees from all walks of life. California has walks of life in spades, bearing a population with a rich racial makeup. As much as California companies may try to put themselves on the cutting edge of progress, unfortunately, some age-old problems can still persist.
While certainly not every job comes with a great boss, that doesn’t provide an excuse to shrug off crude behavior. Especially when you begin to suspect that mistreatment bears an illegal intention.
What does racial discrimination look like in the workplace?
Racial discrimination isn’t always obvious in the workplace. There are definitely more overt signs of it, in racial slurs, jokes, and general fodder that commonly earns raised eyebrows and gasps. But sometimes racial discrimination comes through the smiling teeth of a supervisor who tells you that you didn’t get a promotion again, or that your priorities at the company are being shifted to lower-end work. Or it may come with a request to change your hair to something more “work appropriate.”
Luckily, there are resources available to help you out. Notably, if you’re looking to file a complaint in an effective manner, the ACLU provides thoughtful literature that can provide a great starting point. One recommendation they make, and which is always advisable when making a complaint of any sort, is to have documentation. Whatever proof you can legally present that indicates unfair treatment due to your race can prove powerful. Even smaller details may be telling, for example, that someone truly was in a meeting, or maybe a delivery package arrived, or perhaps someone needed to step out before a supervisor would express lewd words.
But even coming forward with a sturdy claim is no guarantee an employer will not deflect with an equal amount of strength. If a complaint blossoms in a case, it can be vital to have a professional advocate by your side to protect your best interests.