The Do’s and Don’ts of Handling Racial Discrimination | Mann & Elias
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The Do’s and Don’ts of Handling Racial Discrimination


Dealing with racial discrimination at work can be stressful and exhausting. Not only are victimized employees working through a drastically different workplace environment, but also combatting the physical, mental, and emotional toll it is leaving behind. Discrimination in the workplace, based on race, color, ethnicity, and sex is prohibited under federal and California law. Racial discrimination is especially damaging when actions are taken to affect an employee’s job or term of employment. If you or a loved one experienced discrimination at work, reaching out to an employment attorney in Los Angeles is a great way to understand your rights and figure out what to do next.

What You Should Not Do

Los Angeles labor attorneys at Mann & Elias have managed a breadth of racial discrimination cases. We understand it is not easy to report it when it happens to you. Unfortunately, when it is not on record, there is a strong chance that nothing will happen, and conditions won’t improve. Read on for more information on what to avoid.

Act with Emotion: It is best to remove the emotion and remain calm. Instead, try to focus on specific details and facts to provide HR and the EEOC. If your employer is affecting your job through discriminatory actions, you need strong evidence to prove it. Racial discrimination can take a toll on one’s health, such as:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Reporting Without a Lawyer: Most employees wait to schedule a consultation with a discrimination lawyer in LA until they get fired or the company investigates. It is strongly advised to meet with a legal professional immediately after the incident happens. During the investigation, the company collects evidence, takes statements from witnesses, and accounts from the offender and victim. With guidance from a work discrimination lawyer, you will have a better idea of how to handle the situation. Additionally, what not to do if you decide on filing a lawsuit in the near future.

Taking Company Property: It is important to remember that anything you write or submit on company property pertaining to your case can be used against you. Employees should refrain from taking confidential documents. If the company finds out during the investigation, their legal team can and will use it against you to limit damages you are entitled to. It can also get you fired.

Quitting the Job: Leaving after experiencing racially targeted treatment may seem like the best decision. It can be challenging to continue working in a hostile workplace, but quitting puts a strain on the legal process. It becomes harder to win a lawsuit. Unfortunately, trying to prove unbearable working conditions led you to quit is harder to prove. Instead, discuss any concerns with a legal professional before making a significant decision.

Waiting Too Long: Hesitating or choosing not to report discrimination after it happens may cause you to lose out on filing a legal claim for damages caused. In California, you must file a report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) 300 days following the day you experienced racial discrimination. However, the company can deny an investigation (before filing with the EEOC) if it does not appear to be an immediate situation.

What You Should Do

Report the Behavior in Writing: Take time to review HR policy and figure out who the report should get submitted to. It is strongly advised to voice your concerns in writing, via email because it will record the date, time, and recipient. Submitting an immediate complaint will protect your ability to file a lawsuit after the EEOC investigates.

Your Employer May Retaliate. Report It: If you are experiencing racial discrimination and retaliation from the offender, file a separate complaint and alert HR immediately. Retaliation is also illegal. This may increase your settlement amount.

Keep A Record: Try to compile as much evidence as you can, with advisement from your lawyer for race discrimination claims. Make sure you do so in a way that does not violate the law, the employer’s policies or confidentiality agreement, and invading coworkers’ privacy to support your claim.

What Happens Next?

When you send a report to HR, a supervisor, or an alternative point person specified in the employee handbook, they will initiate a company investigation. The company will review your statement and gather evidence. However, they are offered the chance to resolve issues between you and your employer and improve working conditions. If they are unable to make instant changes or reprimand the employer, you still have an opportunity when filing an administrative charge with the EEOC. After the agency’s investigation, a right to sue letter will be issued to you to indicate when you can file a lawsuit for compensation. If you need a lawyer after experiencing racism in the workplace, give us a call.

About Mann & Elias

The Law Offices of Mann & Elias is an employment law firm that provides guidance and legal support for individuals facing issues in the workplace. We represent clients at every level of the state and federal court systems in lawsuits regarding discrimination, wrongful termination, unpaid wages, and more. When your case is in our hands, we hope to minimize stress and concerns associated with work.

Workplace disputes and negotiations can be complicated and uncomfortable between an employee and employer. In many cases an employer can retaliate, causing individuals to feel that they are at a great disadvantage in the company. When you retain one of our lawyers, you will be well-protected and advised. While there are thousands of lawyers to choose from, we strongly believe our success is based on:

  • 50+ years of trial experience
  • Excellent advocacy skills
  • Intense preparation and research
  • Quality care

Since our partnership began over 20 years ago, we have settled hundreds of claims, completed 100 jury and bench trials, and recovered more than $18 million in settlements. In the end, our goal is to understand what you need and achieve the best outcome for you by focusing on those needs. For dedicated representation with no upfront fees, give us a call at 323-866-9564 or email


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