Skip to Content
Northern California Employment Law Attorneys

Women Removed from Train File Discrimination Law Suit


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 humiliating experience.

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.