California has become the epicenter of progress made against workplace discrimination. From venture capital firms to the state government in Sacramento, women and members of racial minorities have been making their voices heard after they have experienced harmful and degrading behavior in the workplace.
Regrettably, the improvement of conditions has not universally applied to all groups of people. At the end of a year in which many powerful figures have fallen to accusations of harassment and preferential treatment, many people who are members of two or more protected classes and serving in low-wage positions feel left behind.
Women of Latina and African descent are at particular risk for having issues of workplace discrimination ignored or not reported by supervisors. People who were or are undocumented immigrants may also fear that reporting problems could harm their residency or employment.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the experiences of women of color have been noticeably absent from recent coverage of sexual harassment while they are disproportionately affected by sexual violence and workplace discrimination. Industries that employ large numbers of women of color, such as foodservice and manufacturing, also have high estimated levels of sexual harassment.
Although victims may fear reprisals or loss of employment if they report inappropriate workplace behavior, they have rights that protect their jobs and ability to seek restitution and reinstatement. An attorney may help victims of workplace discrimination weigh the evidence and establish the best way to protect their careers and vital livelihoods.
Source: Vox, “Women of color in low-wage jobs are being overlooked in the #MeToo moment,” P.R. Lockhart, Dec. 19, 2017