It is a known rule that employees that commit hate crimes against coworkers will be subject to termination. Hate crimes are where certain aspects of a person fall under scrutiny, such as the victim’s skin color, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. Hate crimes can bring about very serious penalties of up to as much as a 10-year prison sentence; however, this applies if the crime involved includes bodily injury (Charpentier). Hate crimes can happen toward anybody and from anyone. It is even true that an employer may act out and commit a hate crime against an employee. If this happens, you may wonder where you can turn and what options you might have.

Luckily, something known as the Ralph Civil Rights Act comes into play and protects workers against hate crimes and exposes violators to criminal penalties. This is found under California Civil Code section 51.7. But where does the important Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) come into all this? They work to enforce the California civil laws that prohibit hate violence by taking the following actions:

  • Investigating complaints
  • Prosecuting violations of the law
  • Educating California residents about the laws prohibiting hate violence, harassment, and discrimination by providing written materials and participating in seminars and conferences

The DFEH holds a higher mission to protect the people of California from things like unlawful discrimination in employment. They also help with housing and public accommodations and guide against the perpetration of acts of hate violence and the consequences it can cause for many. The DFEH recognizes that you, as an employee, have protections under the law. You are protected from violent things like threats of a verbal or written manner, physical assault or attempted assault, or vandalism to your property.

How Do You File a Complaint?

  • Use the DFEH-187 Brochure: Show the California brochure to your attorney, the police, or a government agency when there is an issue that needs immediate attention.
  • Report Violent Acts: You should go to the police with any information on connections between the violent threat and any hate crime characteristic.
  • File a Complaint: You can file a complaint with DFEH or the courts. However, keep in mind that a DFEH complaint must be filed within one year from the date the victim becomes aware of the perpetrator’s identity, but it can be no more than three years from the date of harm.

What are Some Remedies?

  • Restraining Order: You may receive a restraining order against the party from the court. If the person violates the order, they can be fined or jailed.
  • Actual Monetary Damages: These damages include things like the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, property repair, and emotional suffering costs.
  • Punitive Damages: These damages come into play when a court orders additional damages to punish violators and deter them from committing the same crime in the future.
  • Civil Penalties: The Fair Employment and Housing Commission may order a fine to be awarded to the person that filed the complaint.
  • Attorney’s Fees: A court may order payment of the complainant’s attorney’s fees that result from the lawsuit actions (DFEH).

If you have fallen victim to a hate crime brought on by an employer or another employee, there may be some steps you have to take to make sure that you get the rights and benefits you deserve. This is why it is a good idea to have a trusted attorney on your side throughout the process. Call The RAWA Law Group today for more information call us at 866-200-1212.

Works Cited:

Charpentier. AzCentral, 2015. Web. Accessed Dec 29, 2015. http://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/can-legally-fire-employee-commits-hate-crime-against-another-employee-23567.html

DFEH. Department of Fair Employment and Housing, 2015. Web. Accessed Dec 29, 2015. http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/res/docs/Publications/DFEH-187.pdf

Ralph Civil Rights Act – https://cms.portal.ca.gov/dfeh/SiteEdit.aspx?p=3425

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