50 years ago, the U.S. government passed the Civil Rights Act. Under this act, it became illegal to discriminate against people because of their national origin, race, religion, color or gender. Under this law, employers cannot use any of these factors in their hiring, firing or promotion decisions. Many people may think that these basic civil rights are common knowledge, however, many California employees are still suffering from workplace discrimination today.

Recently, a California jury vindicated one employee who had suffered from years of ill treatment by his employer. The Ecuadorian man worked for the sonar equipment company — based in Denmark — for almost 20 years. During that time, the man alleges that he was passed up for promotions and underpaid, in addition to being misled by managers. He says that he was treated differently than Danish employees who received special treatment and better working conditions.

The man brought the workplace discrimination suit after he was suddenly fired without explanation in 2011. Despite positive reviews, the man was replaced with a less qualified and experienced employee. He asked for damages including emotional distress and lost wages.

Following a trial, the jury agreed with the man that he had suffered from illegal workplace discrimination. As a result, they awarded the man $1.3 million. The company has not commented on the litigation, but faces other similar discrimination suits.

As can be seen in this case, workers who have been subject to workplace discrimination have legal rights. Through a lawsuit, people can hold their employers responsible for their illegal actions while receiving compensation for the treatment they have suffered.

Source: Santa Barbara Independent, “Goleta Engineer Awarded $1.13 Million in Discrimination Case,” Tyler Hayden, July 25, 2014