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Race discrimination in the workplace, Title VII and Section 1981

A California employee that is the victim of racial discrimination on the job is protected under both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and another law, Section 1981. Therefore, when filing an employment discrimination claim, it is important that a person does so under the right law. Section 1981 applies only to racial and ethnic harassment, and Title VII deals with discrimination against several protected classes.

If someone wants to file a legal claim under Title VII, he or she must first go through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which can take either 180 or 300 days depending on the state where it’s filed. It is not necessary to go through the EEOC process when filing under Section 1981, and the statute of limitations is four years.

Section 1981 only prohibits intentional discrimination while Title VII outlaws both deliberate and disparate impact harassment. Disparate impact discrimination refers to employment practices that are not designed to exclude particular groups but end up having the effect. Certain types of testing might fall under this category. Title VII caps punitive, which are meant to punish employers, and compensatory, which cover medical expenses and emotional distress, damages at $300,000. There is no cap under Section 1981.

Whether someone is experiencing race-based discrimination or another type of workplace discrimination, he or she may be concerned that reporting the behavior might jeopardize his or her job. Many employees are, unfortunately, not aware of their rights. Furthermore, California offers additional protection to employees beyond the federal protections. Therefore, an individual who is being discriminated against at work might want to speak with an attorney. He or she might first try reporting the incident to human resources and then file a legal claim if his or her employer does not respond adequately.