Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Some of the Well-known Race Discrimination Cases in the United States

California employment discrimination is nothing common, just as it is in the whole country. Most of the time, such workplace bias is often based on race. However, thanks to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as other state laws such as the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), employees working in the state are now protected from any adverse actions of their employers, especially if race is one of the motivating factors.

Speaking of discrimination on the basis of race, it is always good to reflect on how far the United States had gone through in terms of battling such form of bias not only in the workplace, but in society in general. A lot of racial discrimination cases in the previous decades have resulted in many landmark legal decisions, which directly changed the landscape of how the term “equality” should be defined as mandated by the U.S. Constitution.

Here are some of the well-known race discrimination cases in the United States that were proven instrumental in laying the groundwork for societal equality among the American people:

•    Brown v. Board of Education. In 1954, this landmark case made racial segregation in the United States unconstitutional. Before that, the notion of a “separate but equal” society ruled much of the country for more than 60 years, thanks to the Plessy v. Ferguson case of 1896. It was during that time wherein racial minorities, particularly African-Americans, were excluded from engaging in activities and being in areas dominated by whites. If not for the Supreme Court’s decision on the Brown case, racial segregation may still be present in the country.

•    Guinn v. United States and Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections. Despite the 1870 ratification of the 15th Amendment, which gave black and other minority men the right to vote, a lot of states discourage them to vote. Good thing there were landmark cases that made it possible for them to exercise such right as amended by the Constitution. The Guinn case, for example, for one, nullified the grandfather clauses of 1915, which favored mostly white citizens. Moreover, the Harper case of 1966 abolished poll taxes that disenfranchised deprived citizens, particularly blacks.

•    Loving v. Virginia. In 1967, the Supreme Court deemed that marriages between mixed-race couples are unconstitutional. Along with the Brown case in 1954, the Loving case put an end to state-sponsored race discrimination in the country.

While these laws paved the way for providing equal treatment to people of all races, racism is still a prominent problem, especially in today’s society. But then again, the federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination in all aspects of society, including employment, continue to protect people of all races and ethnicity from any adverse advances or actions.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Independence Day Gift to Same-sex Couples in the Workplace

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community has received its early Independence Day gift last week; the striking out of one of the Defense of Marriage Act’s (DOMA) provisions. The Supreme Court struck down DOMA’s Section 3 which allows gay married couples the same rights when it comes to federal benefits that straight married couples do get. This is a landmark victory for the LGBT community as it is one of the major rulings that favor equal rights for all citizens, regardless of what their sexual preferences are. This event will greatly help ensure equality in the workplace. A Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyer lauds this latest decision by the Supreme Court as he says that this will better help the elimination of discrimination in the workplace on the basis of one’s sex.

It is understandable that most gay communities are still celebrating now for this really is a sweet victory for them. This win is an important step for them to achieve their quest for totally equal rights for everyone no matter what their sexual preferences are. But when the smoke all clears, what does this latest achievement really mean for them? How does the Supreme Court ruling affect them and affect the employers? Here are some answers to people’s common questions about this latest development.

What does this ruling really mean?

Basically, federal benefits that apply to an employee’s spouse will now be made available for the same-sex spouse of an employee. However, what employers need to focus on is how they’d extend benefits to employees’ spouse that include health and retirement benefits, taxes, family leaves and more.

What if you are working in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage?

This is a bit tricky because there are still states that do not recognize same-sex marriages. For these states, you may need the help of a good lawyer to give you guidance by sharing their legal opinion about these laws.

How will the inconsistencies between states be solved?

After the Supreme Court ruling, some laws of various states may need to be re visit and amend certain states may need to revisit and change such provisions of some of their laws to help ensure that the ruling of the laws to ensure that every same-sex couples get the most out of this law.

This new law may truly have brought freedom to the LGBT community. However, there are a lot of insistencies with current laws that makes this recent ruling rather confusing. And so, if you have questions about this ruling, you must not hesitate to ask a Los Angeles attorney for his legal advice. This way, you’d be able to claim your rights as an employee and as a citizen, and avoid abuse and discrimination in the workplace. When that day comes where there are equal rights for every American, no matter what color, race, or gender preferences they may have, then we can truly say that we are living in the “land of the free, the home of the brave.”