Oakland Race Discrimination Attorneys

Race Discrimination in a Remote Workplace

Oakland Race Discrimination Table of Contents:

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers have adopted flexible workplace policies. Employees are allowed to work from a remote workplace using devices like laptops and smartphones, along with various collaborative online tools.

There is an assumption that shifting to remote work environments has provided workers greater protection from discrimination. Unfortunately, the decrease in face-to-face interactions due to remote work does not translate into fewer incidences of racial discrimination. A report from Project Include, a nonprofit organization, found that about 10 percent of workers experienced an increase in race-based hostility during the pandemic.

Race discrimination is illegal, whether it occurs in the office or a remote workplace. If you have faced race discrimination while working in a remote environment, an experienced Oakland employment lawyer can advise you of your legal options. Erlich Law Firm can help you pursue compensation and hold your employer accountable for their discriminatory practices.

What is Race Discrimination?

Race discrimination occurs when a worker is treated unfairly based on their race or personal traits associated with their race, such as skin color or hair texture. Race is a protected characteristic under the law, which means that discriminating against or harassing a worker based on their actual or perceived race is unlawful.

Race discrimination can occur in many ways. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act protects employees from race discrimination across all aspects of employment, including hiring, training, compensation, promotions, discipline and termination.

An example of race discrimination is an employer paying an employee of color less than similarly qualified white workers in the same position. Another example is requiring only African American employees to undergo regular drug testing.

The law does not shield workers from offhand comments or isolated incidents. However, an employee may have a valid race discrimination claim if they are facing a hostile work environment in which there is severe or pervasive race-based harassment.

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How Does Race Discrimination Occur in a Remote Workplace?

Race discrimination often involves subjecting a worker to derogatory race-related comments, racial slurs or displaying racially offensive symbols. Hostile conduct can still occur in remote workplaces, such as over video calls or group instant messaging platforms.

Additionally, a supervisor or boss still has plenty of opportunities to subject a worker to disparate treatment in a remote workplace. Race discrimination occurs when an employer takes a negative employment action against an employee based on their race, such as forcing them to quit, denying a promotion, cutting their hours, reducing pay, giving a poor performance review or assigning unfavorable tasks.

California is an at-will employment state, which means employers are permitted to let a worker go without providing any reason, regardless of whether an employee is working remotely or in an office. However, firing someone based on discriminatory reasons is illegal and considered wrongful termination.

Can You Sue for Race Discrimination in a Remote Workplace?

California labor laws apply to remote workers in the same way they apply to employees in an office. If you suspect you have been subjected to race discrimination in a remote workplace, you should discuss your situation with a knowledgeable Oakland employment lawyer. You may be able to file a race discrimination claim to pursue compensation for lost wages, lost benefits and more.

An important point to note is that while unpleasant comments can make you feel bad, they may not necessarily qualify as discrimination if the conduct is not considered unlawful. In addition, being subject to adverse employment actions such as being demoted or fired may not be reason enough to file a discrimination claim.

An employer’s unfair treatment of an employee must be based on their race for it to be considered race discrimination. An employment lawyer can examine the facts of your situation and help you determine whether you have a valid case.

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Call for a Free Case Evaluation

Oakland employment attorney Jason Erlich has decades of experience protecting the rights of workers and holding employers to account for their unlawful behavior. Erlich Law Firm is dedicated to helping workers who have suffered race discrimination. We understand how disruptive and harmful discrimination can be, even when it occurs in a remote workplace. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options and how we can help you deal with the unlawful behavior you are experiencing.


My parents were heavily involved in community organizing. Seeing neighbors and friends’ parents struggle in the workplace gave me a sense of purpose that I wanted to help others. Many employees feel helpless and powerless in the workplace, and helping them vindicate their rights is the right thing to do.

- Jason Erlich

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