Systematic Inequality and Economic Opportunity | Mann & Elias
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Systematic Inequality and Economic Opportunity

Have You Experienced Workplace Discrimination in Los Angeles?

Racism and discrimination in the workplace still exist in America. The country is struggling to deal with its legacy of ingrained workplace discrimination. Hiring an employment attorney in Los Angeles can help you get justice if you have been fired, demoted, or otherwise mistreated because of your race. This article provides brief overviews of systematic inequality and economic opportunity to help you identify whether you have a strong compensation claim.

Taking A Step Forward to A Racially Just Workplace

The U.S. has a deep history of racism in the workplace from the early 1600s to today. Historically, employees of color have faced more challenges trying to assimilate. In doing so, they very rarely noticed when their employer was intentionally (disparate treatment) or unintentionally (disparate impact) discriminating against them.

Disparate Impact is when a biased employer unintentionally discriminates against a particular group of employees.

Disparate Treatment is intentional – for instance, the employer might not invite a Hispanic or Asian staff member to a staff meeting because they feel their experience is inadequate compared to Caucasian employees.

Unfortunately, discrimination of the past has been reinforced by a racist ideology—an ideology that continues to lead to the economic and social oppression of people of color.

Government, Not Private Individuals Are Responsible

Until the 1960s, state governments refused to intervene with any aspect of racial disputes and concerns. Fortunately, things have changed drastically. Unlike centuries ago, the government has imposed strict federal laws to prevent race and color discrimination in the workplace.

The history of systematic inequality is deep – especially among darker-skinned workers. We share a few historical insights below for your reference:

  • Enslaved people served as domestic workers and did every other low-end service job required to keep the white elite pampered and well-groomed. Even when hired out to others, adequate payment was withheld.
  • Slaves had no rights, no status, no recognition as human beings. Such a system could not have been brought into being without law and could not have been enforced without the power of federal and state governments.
  • The U.S. Constitution itself embraced slavery. In the original document ratified in 1788, slaves were treated as three-fifths of a person. The U.S. Constitution also required escaped slaves to be returned to their masters, and federal laws—fugitive slave laws—were passed in 1793 and 1850 to reinforce this constitutional right of slave owners further.

Although slavery was abolished in 1865, some of these issues are still prominent among people of color. The gap only widened in the twentieth century. Read on to learn how the collapse of the financial system in 1939 led to new employment standards.

  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt rose to power on the promise of a New Deal for American families. The policies he implemented after he became president helped millions of families find work.
  • In response, the government strengthened labor standards for wages and working conditions and increased protections for collective bargaining.
  • The problem is that all these programs and policies excluded black people. A block of southern senators and representatives ensured that no black family would benefit from the assistance given to poor and working families throughout the nation.
  • The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 formally recognized the legitimacy of trade unions. Companies could no longer prohibit their workers from forming a union and could no longer ban existing unions in the workplace. However, domestic workers (who were primarily black) and agricultural workers were excluded from the protections of the Wagner Act, and the bill that Roosevelt signed allowed unions to discriminate against workers of color.
  • Things got no better after World War II. When the economy was changing from a manufacturing to a knowledge-based economy, millions of working-class white people were given the education and resources to prepare themselves for this new world of work. Black veterans were denied these benefits, and thus the black community fell further behind economically.

The Inequality Persists

African or Black Americans are not the only group impacted by discrimination over the years. Studies show high percentages of Hispanics and Asians experience racism just as much, if not more, over the years.

In fact, during the start of the pandemic, Asian Americans experienced violent workplace discrimination. With the uncertainty of a new pandemic, Asian employees dealt with extreme Xenophobia. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) needed to issue a statement on their website to clarify that people of Asian descent, who were not recently in an area with high COVID-19 rates, are not at greater risk of transmitting compared to other groups. 

Additionally, 1 in 4 Latinos has experienced higher rates of discrimination and ageism, according to Forbes. They account for the 2nd most discriminated minority group in the U.S. There are stigmas placed on them regarding education, pregnancy, and family values to name a few. The racist political rhetoric over the past few years has not helped either.

Modern workplaces still reflect this racist legacy. In most cases, this has nothing to do with one group disliking another group. Structures and systems, not intentions and feelings are to blame here.

The EEOC Protects Against Race/Color Discrimination

The EEOC oversees company misconduct to protect employees against discrimination, especially racism and colorism. A race discrimination lawyer in LA can help to evaluate your claim whether the racism was overt or subtle. There’s no reason why you should endure a hostile or offensive work environment.

Federal laws forbid discrimination for any aspect of employment, including:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Promotions
  • Job tasks
  • Training
  • Benefits
  • Other conditions of employment

Once your Los Angeles workplace discrimination lawyer evaluates your case, you can submit a claim to the EEOC. It is necessary if you plan on pursuing a lawsuit later. At Mann & Elias, our discrimination attorneys handle a wide range of unique cases. We will ensure you get what you deserve.


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