Ask A Wrongful Termination Lawyer: Discrimination Against Asian Americans At Work In The Covid-19 Era And The #StopAsianHate Movement
In 2020-2021, our employment lawyers have handled numerous discrimination cases on behalf of employees wrongfully terminated or treated poorly at work due to their race. We have handled these cases in Los Angeles Superior Court, Orange County Superior Court, and in Arbitration.
Some of the cases involved grotesque slurs against employees due to their national origin. We have successfully argued that even a single racial slur should be considered illegal harassment on behalf of our clients.
Indeed, California’s Fair Employment & Housing Act (FEHA) was amended (effective January 1, 2019) by adding Cal. Gov’t Code § 12923, which specifically provides:
“A single incident of harassing conduct is sufficient to create a triable issue regarding the existence of a hostile work environment if the harassing conduct has unreasonably interfered with the plaintiff’s work performance or created an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. In that regard, the Legislature hereby declares its rejection of the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s opinion in Brooks v. City of San Mateo (2000) 229 F.3d 917 and states that the opinion shall not be used in determining what kind of conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive to constitute a violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.”
Cal. Gov’t Code § 12923 (emphasis added).
Our employment lawyers have argued that the legal standard for unlawful workplace harassment required severe or pervasive conduct – not severe and pervasive conduct. Castleberry v. STI Grp., 863 F.3d 259, 264 (3d Cir. 2017) (“Under the correct ‘severe or pervasive’ standard, the parties dispute whether the supervisor’s single use of the ‘n-word’ is adequately ‘severe’ and if one isolated incident is sufficient to state a claim under that standard. Although the resolution of that question is context-specific, it is clear that one such instance can suffice to state a claim.”); Boyer-Liberto v. Fontainebleau Corp., 786 F.3d 264, 280 (4th Cir. 2015) (being called a “porch monkey” on two consecutive days qualifies as severe or pervasive harassment).
Even in the absence of a racial slur, we have successfully argued that mentioning an employee’s race in a negative manner, is evidence of discrimination. See Dee v. Vintage Petroleum, Inc., 106 Cal. App. 4th 30, 36 (2003) (a single racial remark by supervisor, “it is your Filipino understanding versus mine,” coupled with calling plaintiff a “bitch” is sufficiently severe or pervasive to support racial harassment claim); see also id. at 35 (“Harassment includes epithets, derogatory comments or slurs.”); Caldera v. Dep’t of Corr. & Rehab., 25 Cal. App. 5th 31, 38 (2018) (“All harassment claims require severe or pervasive conduct. . . . As to whether the alleged conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive, a jury is to consider the totality of circumstances.”) (emphasis in original).
Our wrongful termination lawyers have used the law to show that large companies must be held accountable for the harassing comments and treatment of their supervisors. See Myers v. Trendwest Resorts, Inc., 148 Cal. App. 4th 1403, 1419 (2007) (FEHA provide for strict liability on the part of the employer for harassment by a supervisor); see also Kelly-Zurian v. Wohl Shoe Co., 22 Cal. App. 4th 397, 415 (1994) (“Under the FEHA, an employer is ‘strictly liable for the harassing conduct of its agents and supervisors.’”) (quoting Fisher v. San Pedro Peninsula Hosp., 214 Cal. App. 3d 590, 608 n.6 (1989); CACI No. 2521A (“In element 6, select the applicable basis of employer liability: (a) strict liability for a supervisor’s harassing conduct, or (b) the employer’s ratification of the conduct.”)
Our employment lawyers have also handled cases against companies who discriminated against Asian employees in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis and the large increase in anti-Asian discrimination we have seen over the past two years.
We hope you found this article on Ask A Wrongful Termination Lawyer: Discrimination Against Asian Americans At Work In The Covid-19 Era And The #StopAsianHate Movement useful. We invite you to contact us for a free consultation about your potential wrongful termination or harassment at work. Rest assured, that all the information you provide always remains strictly confidential and privileged. We have helped hundreds of executives and employees with great results and really care about helping clients through a very difficult time in their life after a wrongful termination. Please feel free to review our website and Google reviews!