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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6770
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I was hired by a company and began my position as an office

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I was hired by a company and began my position as an office manager this past Monday. The company uses a temporary agency for the first 90 days of the "trial" period, so I was placed with the temp agency. I did what was asked of me, came in during the business hours, worked my eight hours and asked if anything was needed of me before leaving. Yesterday afternoon, after 3-1/2 days, I was told by the president of the company that it wasn't working out and he had to let me go. When I asked why, I was told that he didn't have an answer and that I should know that I wouldn't get an honest answer anyway. I think my boss, the VP of Operations (and the president's wife) for some reason decided she didn't like me for whatever reason (she never mentioned anything to me). I was never reprimanded, there was no indication that there was a problem. Do I have any recourse?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am truly sorry to hear that you were let go under these circumstances.

Do you believe that you "weren't liked" for reasons relating to your race, religion, gender, or something along those lines? If so, what makes you think that is the case?

I very much look forward to assisting you regarding this matter.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I did have an inkling that I wasn't liked because I am not Asian (my boss was Chinese), I am Caucasian. I can't be certain, though. I do know that one employee on the shop floor didn't show up to work for a month and when he received a certified letter from the company he came in and they brought him back on. I was told it was because of his expertise on a hard-to-man machine, but I did note that he, too, was Asian.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Nicole,

Thank you very much for your reply. I completely understand your concerns here.

While it is illegal to take adverse employment action on the basis of race, the challenge frequently lies in proving that race and not something else is the reason you are being treated poorly.

Absent a discriminatory motive, there is no law that regulates fairness in the work place and no law that prohibits employers from taking arbitrary or unfounded action against their employees. Since employers enjoy such tremendous discretion to hire, discipline and fire employees as they please, you have to clearly demonstrate that there is an unlawful, discriminatory reason why you have been let go--otherwise, you would have no legal claim.

Plaintiffs alleging discrimination also bear the burden of proving their claims by a preponderance of evidence, and so it is insufficient to merely suspect discriminatory intent. More concrete evidence is required. This doesn't mean the evidence needs to be overt (i.e., you don't need a statement from your employer saying they hate people of your race), but it needs to be significant enough that, when viewed in context, a jury would be inclined to say that, more likely than not, your race was the reason you were being treated this way and not some other factor.

When I am getting at here is that proving race discrimination is hard. I would be doing you a disservice if I didn't tell you that a claim based solely on the facts you have described would most likely fail. So, unless you can come up with more concrete evidence to indicate that your race and not some other factor is the reason for this adverse employment action against you, this may be one of those unfortunate situations where your employer's decision is unfair but the law does not provide recourse.

Of course, if you believe that you have evidence that is sufficient to satisfy your burden of proof and you want to file a claim, you would want to file a formal complaint of discrimination with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Either the EEOC or the DFEH will issue an authorization to sue after they investigate the claim. A claimant need to file with both agencies. Finally, if an individual in your circumstance decides to sue, they must not miss their deadline. Under federal law in California, a claimant has 300 days from an act of discrimination to file a complaint.

For information on how to bring a claim through California's DFEH, visit this link: http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Complaints.htm For information on how to bring a claim through the EEOC, visit this link: http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge.cfm

So to summarize, employers have tremendous discretion to hire, discipline and fire employees "at will" at any time and for any reason. One of the only exceptions to this general principle is where termination is motivated by an employee's race or other "protected trait" (i.e. religion, gender, etc.) In bringing a claim for discrimination, the claimant has the burden of proof and must show that their race was the reason they were let go by a preponderance of the evidence. This is hard to do, and so a mere suspicion of discriminatory intent is not enough. If you believe you have evidence sufficient to support a claim for racial discrimination, you would want to file with either the EEOC or DFEH.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, I would be most grateful if you would remember to provide my service a positive rating, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Very best wishes to you.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 6770
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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