In August 2015, 11 women belonging to a book club were involuntarily removed
from a California wine tour train after other passengers allegedly complained
the group was too noisy. Now, members of the
Sistahs on the Reading Edge Book Club have filed a lawsuit in California federal district court alleging that
the train company and its employees racially discriminated against the
group in removing them from the train. Ten of the 11 plaintiffs are African-American.
The lawsuit seeks $11 million in damages, or $1 million per plaintiff.
In the wake of the incident, the train company came under new ownership
and hired a private investigator to look into the allegations of discrimination.
The CEO of the company also made a public apology to the victims, pledged
to implement diversity training for employees, and invited the women back
to the train. The women maintain, however, that these attempts at remedying
the situation are insufficient and do little to erase their terrible and
What is Racial Discrimination Under the Law?
Most Americans – business owners and employees alike – understand
that it is generally illegal to take any adverse or harmful action against
another person because of that person’s race. Not only can this
subject the actor to civil penalties, but if a crime is committed against
another person and the victim’s race played a role in the attack,
the aggressor may face enhanced criminal penalties. But when asked to
describe what constitutes racial discrimination under the law, few Americans
may be able to provide a satisfactory answer.
Racial discrimination can occur in the workplace and can be carried out
by a business’s employees. If a business’s employee carries
out an act of racial discrimination, the business may be held responsible
for the civil consequences of the discriminatory act. Racial discrimination
can include any harmful, embarrassing, hostile, humiliating, or disparate
treatment carried out against another individual on account of that individual’s
race. This includes a person:
- Denying access to a business to another because of the other person’s race;
- Refusing to provide service to another person because of the other person’s race; and
- Removing a person from a business because of the other person’s race.
Because racial discrimination can occur in a variety of ways under a variety
of circumstances, it is always a good idea to have your situation evaluated
by a racial discrimination attorney who can analyze your situation and
advise whether you have a good racial discrimination lawsuit.
Proving Racial Discrimination May be More Difficult Than It Appears
A business defending itself against allegations of racial discrimination
will likely claim that the adverse or hostile action was taken for a reason
other than because of your race. For example, it is against the law for a business
to forcibly remove African-American women from a public train/business
on account of their race; it is not necessarily racial discrimination
to remove someone from a business who is disruptive or violent and who
also happens to be of a certain race. If a business claims this as its
defense, you will likely need witnesses beyond yourself in order to establish
that the adverse action was indeed taken because of your race.
I am a California plaintiff’s employment attorney. My practice is
dedicated to California workers who have been unfairly treated and discriminated
against due to their race. I thoroughly investigate the facts and circumstances
of your case so that I am prepared and ready to aggressively assert your
legal rights. If you believe you have been the victim of racial discrimination,
contact my office and discuss your situation with me. I will advise you
whether you have a case of racial discrimination and, if so, how to protect
your interests. Contact my offices by calling (916) 443-3553 today or
fill out the online contact form here.