CALIFORNIA, USA —
A new program is helping California employees who are victims of racial harassment and discrimination in the workplace get free legal consultations.
The “Stop the Hate Legal Redress” program is led by the California/Hawaii State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (CAL/HI NAACP).
“We make sure we fight for issues of equality and fight against racial discrimination,” said Rick L. Callender, President of the CAL/HI NAACP.
Current or former, public and private sector employees in California interested in receiving legal consultation for race-based discrimination in the workplace will need to submit a complaint form to their local NAACP branch. There are 57 branches including in Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto.
“You’ll be intook by [the local NAACP branch’s] Legal Redress Committee, and they will then refer [the complaint] to attorneys that are being paid to provide legal advice to you and potentially, if need be, take on the case,” said Callender. The two firms working with the program are Bracy Hawkins Law, P.C. and Webber & Egbert Employment Law, P.C.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), some examples of racial harassment are unwelcoming and racially offensive conduct in the workplace such as racial slurs, jokes, or comments; racially offensive cartoons, drawings, symbols, or gestures; and other verbal or physical conduct based on an individual's race.
The legal services facilitated by CAL/HI NAACP are funded through the Stop the Hate (STH) Program, which is part of the historic Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Equity Budget that passed in 2021 to combat the rise in hate against Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. While the funding for the STH program caters to AAPI communities in California, any organization could have applied to provide anti-hate services.
As the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization, NAACP has been at the forefront of fighting racial discrimination since 1909.
"African Americans by far are still the number one discriminated against individuals and subject to the amount of hate not only nationally but also in the state of California,” said Callender. “The NAACP has always been the ones that have taken in legal redress complaints not only about employment, but about housing, as well as about general policing efforts.”
While NAACP has historically represented African Americans, Callender said the program is open to all communities of color looking for free legal consultation regarding racial harassment or discrimination at work.
"If you've been discriminated against because of your race, if you've been the subject of hate because of your race, we want to make sure that we're providing legal representation and advice for you,” said Callender.