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How can i sue my employer for racial discrimination?

Arcadia, CA |

I work for a franchise pizza company that is not corporately run. The private business owners employ a manager who on two occasions used racially demeaning epithets toward me. I called corporate and they could not help, when i contacted the owner, I let the owner know that i did not want retaliation from this incident, and they cut my hours nearly immediately. The owner told me there would be no backlash because i expressed my fear of coming forward, this does not seem to be the case now. The owner and i spoke at 11:21am on Nov 29, 2010, my manager called at 11:48 am same day from a blocked number to tell me not to come in on the 30th. I was told by the owner that a meeting would be held between us on the following day. Is there anything that i can do???

I attended the meeting that was supposed to be held. When i arrived the owner was not there, he was at a hardware store. When we began, 20min late, mind you he informed me that plans had changed. No managers would be attending and we would just be talking . He informed me that these types of things happen and that is how people joke sometimes. He brushed off my concerns of retaliation, humiliation and the idea of me transferring to another store. i found it ironic that he brushed off my fears of retaliation and did not even realize i was taken off the schedule until i informed him then. He told me that he has taken care of the situation and it is done, and to be at work when i am scheduled again. No official report was taken. After some reflection i have contacted the EEOC. What other steps can i take??? This is unacceptable, how can this take place in 2010?

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Attorney answers 4


It does sound as though you are the victim of employment discrimination based on race and of retaliation from what you have said. There are various laws to protect you from such wrongful activity and to provide legal remedies. Depending on the number of employees your case may fall under Title VII and you could bring a charge with the EEOC. Every state has an office. Your state and even your city likely have local human rights laws which address this type of discrimination and retaliation and you may alternatively be able to file a civil suit in state court. You should consult with a licensed employment discrimination attorney to learn what your rights are and the best course to follow.

This answer does not constitute legal advice nor does it create any attorney client relationship. You should consult with a licensed attorney who is experienced in the area of law involved in your question.


If this business employs 5 or more persons than you are covered by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act which outlaws racial discrimination. If some job action such as cutting hours or termination is taken against you then you may have grounds to file a suit against the employer. You should contact the Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing to initiate the paperwork necessary to file an administrative complaint against the employer.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.


It's possible that the owners are cutting back your hours so they can deal with the manager, and while this may have an immediate apparently retaliatory impact on you, they may be conducting the investigation that they're required to make so they can remedy the problem, such as interviewing the manager, any witnesses, etc., and generating any reports, implementing any disclipline of the manager, etc.

It's only been a few hours since you reported the epithets, and you need to give management a chance to address and fix the problem. If the negative treatment continues, see a lawyer. To prepare for that, draft a timeline of everything your experienced and and been exposed to, with dates, times, and quotes, and also list names and contact information for anyone who witnesses any of the events.

Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Yes. It is unlawful to retaliate against someone for having made a legitimate complaint aobut racial discrimination. You should consult with an employment attorney immediately. If you would like to consult with me, personally, for free, give me a call: 866-229-0101