We at Strauss & Strauss condemn in the strongest terms the war in Ukraine. The war is causing needless destruction and death, and the Russian government is certainly to blame. Above all else, humans must treat their kind with respect and dignity at all levels, which is something the Russian government has apparently forgotten.
We, too, must abide by this rule. Our laws here in California protect against discrimination because of their race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status. Any time we see discrimination against people who fit into any of these protected categories, we all must stand up to this injustice.
Unfortunately, anti-Russian sentiment has increased here on our own soil. While we rightly condemn the actions of the Russian government, individuals living and working in California who have a Russian background, whether it is their last name or accent or otherwise, are facing and unprecedented level of discrimination in the workplace. Employers are terminating, disciplining, or otherwise discriminating against their employees simply because they are Russian. Such behavior must be condemned.
California law protects against national origin discrimination. It is unlawful to discriminate against an employee because of that person’s national origin. In other words, an employer cannot terminate an employee because he or she is Russian. An employer cannot dock an employee’s pay because he or she is Russian. An employer cannot put a person on unpaid leave or give a person demeaning job duties or humiliate a person because he or she is Russian.
If you have faced discrimination in the workplace because you are Russian, or have a Russian last name, or have a Russian accent, you do have rights. You have the right to be treated equally. You have the right to perform your job without discrimination. And if you are discriminated against because you are Russian, please remember that your employer can face serious consequences.
An employee who is discriminated against because of his or her national origin may bring a claim against the employer under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Remedies for violation of the FEHA include backpay, front pay, emotional distress damages, and potentially punitive damages. The employee may also recover his or her attorney’s fees.
If you would like a free case evaluation for your case of national origin discrimination, please contact us immediately.