San Francisco Race Discrimination Lawyers

The race discrimination attorneys at Minnis & Smallets represent employees who have been subjected to discrimination at work.

In 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, which made sweeping changes to employment law by offering significant protections to employees and job applicants. Under the terms of this law, which is commonly referred to as Title VII, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees or applicants based on certain protected characteristics such as race, color, and national origin. Although many employers are careful to abide by these rules, some do not. If this is the case, the wronged parties can hold their employers liable for damages with the help of a San Francisco race discrimination lawyer.

Filing or defending against these types of claims can be difficult, so if you were discriminated against because of your race, or you have been falsely accused of doing so by an employee or an applicant, you should strongly consider contacting an experienced workplace discrimination attorney who can ensure that your rights and interests are protected.

Prohibited Acts

Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination based on race means that employers cannot discriminate against employees or applicants in any aspect of employment, including:

  • Recruitment;
  • Hiring;
  • Granting or denying promotions;
  • Issuing work assignments;
  • Payment and benefits;
  • Performance evaluations;
  • Training;
  • Discipline;
  • Transfers;
  • Layoffs;
  • Firing; and
  • Granting or denying leave.
  • This prohibition includes a ban not only on intentional discrimination, but also on practices that may seem to be neutral, but, actually limit employment opportunities for certain racial groups. For instance, employers cannot deny pay raises and promotions, or offer lower wages to an employee because of his or her race. However, employers are also prohibited from less obvious forms of discrimination, such as creating a policy that disproportionately affects or negatively impacts individuals or applicants of a certain race.

California Law

Federal law only applies to employers with more than 15 employees, which could leave smaller companies with fewer employees at risk. Fortunately, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act fills this gap by offering protection from race discrimination to employees who work for an employer with five or more workers. California State law also offers additional protections to applicants and employees that federal law does not, which is why many California employees pursue discrimination claims under state law.

Filing a Discrimination Claim

In California, race discrimination claims can be filed with either the:

  • California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH); or
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

These agencies coordinate with each other when processing claims, so filing a claim with both entities is not usually necessary. However, claimants who work for smaller companies generally file with the DFEH by filling out an intake form, at which point, the agency will schedule an interview with a department representative to determine whether a formal complaint should be filed. It is also possible for claimants to skip this process and file a claim directly with the court by obtaining a Right-to-Sue notice from the agency, but generally, an employee does not seek an immediate right to sue unless he or she already has an attorney.

Contact an Experienced San Francisco Race Discrimination Attorney Today

If you were discriminated against at work by an employer or fellow coworkers because of your race, you need the advice of an experienced attorney. Please contact Minnis & Smallets, LLP at 415-551-0885 today to learn more about how our legal team can help you.


If you are looking for advice or representation, please contact us today using the form below and we will promptly respond to your inquiry.

  • Please note that we are not able to schedule a consultation with an attorney for every matter. If we are able to schedule a consultation, then the initial consultation will be at no charge unless we specifically advise otherwise prior to the consultation.

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