Profiling based on ethnicity and employer practices

Asked over 1 year ago - San Diego, CA

Former employer uses either Japanese or Chinese women as secretary for the executives. How about the argument that these women are brought up to serve and protect their superiors (father, husband, boss) - in this case one of them is being presented as a witness in a hearing (alternate dispute resolution) and she is the secretary and therefore is not competent to testify especially her role is secretary and the case is against her boos who hired her. In a prior review, this Secretary just denied everything.

What other reasons can be presented to preclude her as a witness?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Neil Pedersen

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your question is difficult to understand. It seems you wish to preclude a witness because she is Japanese or Chinese and a secretary. None of those are legitimate bases for exclusion of a witness. Excluding a witness from a trial or arbitration is not an easy thing to achieve. Judges and arbitrators tend to allow evidence if it is relevant, and the party who opposes the witness can use effective cross-examination and other arguments to reduce the effectiveness of the testimony.

    Focus more on how to impeach the witness and less on excluding the witness.

    Good luck to you.

    This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed... more
  2. Craig Trent Byrnes


    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Their ethnicities have nothing to do with anything, and you hurt your own credibility by even bringing it up.

    As Mr. Pedersen noted, you can try to attack their credibility, but you can't prevent them from testifying on the bases that you've described.

    Craig T. Byrnes

    Disclaimer: Please be aware that I am not offering legal advice, nor forming an attorney-client relationship with... more
  3. Marilynn Mika Spencer

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with Messrs. Pedersen, Byrnes and Taylor. You can try to attack the credibility of any witness by asking questions that reveal, or may reveal, a bias. It may be persuasive to a judge or jury to show that a witness has incentive to skew testimony to keep his or her job. However, if you try to discredit an entire racial or cultural group, and all women, based on your own stereotypical beliefs, you will most likely end up offending someone whose opinion matters (judge or member of the jury), and may end up shooting yourself in the foot by revealing that you do not have facts upon which you can rely.

    Focus on the facts. Focus on the evidence to prove the facts you want the decision maker to believe.

    Your question today and your previous question(s) indicate you should not be trying to represent yourself at the upcoming proceeding. If you tried but could not find an attorney, there are several possibilities:

    -- you are not looking in the right place for the right kind of attorney;
    -- your case does not have as much value as you think; or
    -- you are not presenting your case in a way that makes sense to the attorneys.

    Employment attorneys want certain information right up front: the name of the defendant, the name of the employee; if the employee was fired (or denied reasonable accommodation, or laid off, or whatever the issue is, in five words or less); the date this happened; the reason the employer gave for whatever happened; how long the employee worked for the defendant; what job the employee did; how much the employee made; and any deadline.

    If for whatever reason you are proceeding without representation, do yourself a favor and hire an attorney to help you understand the rules of evidence and how to present a case. Although this will not be a substitute for representation, it may help point you in the right direction – and the direction you are going in now seems destined to fail you.

    For this type of assistance, you can expect to pay hourly. Plaintiffs employment attorneys in California charge anywhere from $250 to $750 an hour depending on many factors including experience, area of law, geographic location, work load, interest in the case, difficulty of the case and more. You should expect to need at least three hours for this kind of consultation though five or six would be far more effective.

    To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is Click on "Find a CELA Member" and you can search by location and practice area. Many CELA attorneys represent clients throughout the state.

    I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.

    Marilynn Mika Spencer
    The Spencer Law Firm
    2727 Camino del Rio South, Suite 140
    San Diego, CA 92108
    (619) 233-1313 telephone // (619) 296-1313 facsimile *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the... more
  4. L. Maxwell Taylor

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Competency to testify has to do with a person's ability to know the difference between truth and falsehood, and is not applicable to the circumstance you describe. I think you are referencing particular cultural values; those values would not provide a basis for preventing the testimony of a witness, although they might reasonably be the subject of cross-examination.

    Not legal advice as I don't practice law in California. If you need legal advice, please consult a lawyer who holds California licensure.

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