Racial discrimination in the workplace seems like it should be part of the past. Unfortunately, racial discrimination still happens in workplaces around California.
A former employee of UCLA Hospital in Santa Monica sued the hospital for racial discrimination and wrongful termination. A jury recently ruled in her favor and awarded her $1.58 million.
An environment of racial harassment
The African-American woman drew blood for hospital patients. She claimed that her co-workers in that department would comment on her skin color and use racist language when speaking to her. She said they would also throw her blood samples away or label them incorrectly. This behavior led to an uncomfortable workplace for the woman.
Fired without investigation
While she made complaints to her supervisors, they did not start any investigations into the discriminating behavior. UCLA Hospital eventually fired her. But her lawsuit said she was a good worker, and the hospital had no reason to fire her based on performance.
Violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
Discriminating against someone in the workplace based on race is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The jury agreed that UCLA Hospital had taken part in illegal discrimination by not investigating the woman’s claims. As an employer, they must protect employees from racial harassment and discrimination. The case shows that to ignore claims can be costly.
Racial discrimination unfortunately still exists in California workplaces. But the law protects those who face harassment. If employers do not investigate claims of harassment, employees have the right to bring their case to court.