Who can represent me if I believe I have been illegally discriminated against for a job because of my record?
In July 2017, California issued a regulation acknowledging that, since some communities are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system, basing important employment decisions on a person’s record may violate the federal Civil Rights Act, which protects people of color and other marginalized groups. If you believe you have been illegally discriminated against in an employment or hiring decision due to your criminal record (or because of your race, gender, religion, disability, etc.), there may be legal help for you. On PG. 599, read the “Helpful Hint” box to learn about legal aid and employment attorneys; government-run civil rights agencies; and non-profit organizations that may be able to provide you with legal information or representation on your employment discrimination claim.
If you think an employer has illegally discriminated against you the law, you may want to contact an attorney who can help you decide what to do next. There are 3 types of people who may be able help you:
1. Legal aid or employment attorney
Legal aid attorneys provide FREE legal assistance to people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer (like a public defender, but for lawsuits and other civil legal cases). Many private employment attorneys only charge fees if you win or settle a case, so you may not have to pay anything out-of-pocket UNLESS you win money from the employer. To find a local legal aid attorney or employment attorney in your area:
- Call 211;Contact the local county bar association, or look on the State Bar website at http://lawhelpca.org/find-legal-help; orTo find a list of employment attorneys in your area, visit the California Employment Lawyers Association website at http://www.cela.org/?page=4;For a list of legal aid offices throughout California, see PG. 1127 at the back of this guide.
2. Government civil rights agencies
There are 2 government agencies responsible for enforcing your rights against illegal discrimination by employers. Because federal and state law are very similar, you can generally ask either agency to enforce your rights if you think an employer has illegally discriminated against you. For more information about how to report discrimination and file a complaint with the EEOC and DFEH, read the next section, starting on PG. 599.
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that enforces federal civil rights laws; andThe Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) is the California state agency that enforces your rights under state law.
3. Non-profit organizations
You can also contact a non-profit organization that helps people who have been discriminated against by employers based on their criminal record:
- National Employment Law Project (NELP)—(510) 409-2427
http://www.nelp.org/index.php/content/content_issues/category/criminal_records_and_employment/Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights (LCCR—San Francisco)—(415) 814-7610
http://www.lccr.com/programs/racial-justice/direct-services/second-chance-legal-clinic/Or other local organizations or clinics in your area—see PG. 1127 for more information on reentry legal aid services available in your area.
2 C.C.R. § 11017.1(d). ↑