Q: I was fired on my birthday, during my third week of employment. Possible hostile work environment. Where do I start?
I was referred to as "Lawrence Olivier" by my boss. He was famous for blackface.
I am black.
Other jokes about green cards were made...I applied for a job as assistant manager. They made me a receptionist instead, saying if I proved myself I could become an assistant. Other (white) employees did not have to do this and were hired as assistants even though I had experience.
I was told I'd be given an exam, and if I passed I would keep my job. Shortly after I began work, I was told I was doing fantastic. With people out on vacation, I covered the office solo, with less than a week of training - until one day I got food poisoning and took a day off. The next day, suddenly my trainers wouldn't speak to me; it became very difficult to get them to acknowledge me at work.
I wasn't given any new tasks. The day before my birthday, I'm given my exam and told I made some mistakes and "refused to stay late to help fix them".
I passed the exam, took my lunch, and was fired.
A: Absent an unlawful motive, it is not unlawful for an employer to act as you have noted. It would only be considered unlawful if you can prove that the motivation for the employer's conduct is race (or national origin if the green card comments were related thereto). Proof will be the issue.
Employment law attorneys are regularly dealing with proving discrimination and harassment. Therefore it would be wise for you to locate and consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible to explore your facts and determine your options. I would suggest you look either on this site in the Find a Lawyer section, or go to www.cela.org, the home page for the California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization whose members are dedicated to the representation of employees against their employers.
Most employment attorneys who practice this area of law offer a free or low cost consultation in the beginning and then, if the matter has merit and value, will usually agree to work on a contingency basis, meaning you can hire an attorney without paying any money until the matter results in a positive outcome for you. Many advance all the costs of the litigation as well. Do not let fear of fees and costs keep you from finding a good attorney.
Good luck to you.
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A: I suggest you go to the website for the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and file a charge of discrimination. You can cut and paste this link: https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/
Once you get on the main page, click the Complaints link at the top of the page and you will find several options for you. You should go to the page which explains the complaint process. Then you can fill out a complaint form online. Be sure to be truthful with all the information you provide, neither exaggerate nor minimize anything.
Once you are ready to find a lawyer to help you, go to the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA) website and search for a referral to someone local to you. There are numerous highly qualified employment discrimination lawyers near you. Do a diligent search for a lawyer or law firm which seems most compatible for your needs.
Do not delay, because there are strict deadlines within which you must file your claim of discrimination.
1 user found this answer helpful
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