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Fight Discrimination

Discrimination Watch

Mission: To discourage discrimination against Asian Pacific Americans (APA) by reporting serious anti-APA acts and derogatory references to APA in the media, in government, in business, and in public or private organizations.

Discrimination FAQ from Our Community

What if you suspect discrimination against you based on national origin or race?

If you suspect that, your first step should be to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You can file a complaint by contacting your local EEOC office in person, by phone, or by mail. Such a list can be found at: http://www.eeoc.gov/teledir.html . You may call toll free at: 800-669-4000 for more information if a field office is not close to where you live. You may also contact the Discrimination Consultant, Mr. Chungsoo J. Lee, at chunglee@eeoinc.com or call (215) 947-0343.

Charges must be filed within 300 days of the discriminatory act. You can find more information on the EEOC web site at: http://www.eeoc.gov/qs-employees.html. If you can afford it, you may also contact a lawyer to guide you through the EEOC process. See the next question, if you need help in finding a lawyer.

How to find a lawyer, if EEOC agrees with you?

If the EEOC deems that your complaint can be subject for a lawsuit, then you may want to file a private or class-action lawsuit. In that case, you will want to find an attorney who can assist you on a contingency basis, which means he will only collect a fee if he wins a settlement or a case in court. When you win the case, you may be awarded both compensatory damage and punitive damage. The amount of compensatory damage is normally not large. It may include the salaries you've lost and the lawyer's fees. The amount of the punitive damage could be very large, if the discrimination is blatant and malicious. A lawyer working on a contingency basis, normally takes one third of the award.

A list of Asian American lawyers can be found at the NAPABA (National Asian Pacific American Bar Association) website, www.napaba.org if you join as a member. Or you can use the law directory on http://directory.findlaw.com/ for free. Pro Bono services can be found at: http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/probono/home.html.

Often you may need a lawyer who is familiar with the laws of your state or locality. You can look up the yellow pages in your telephone book, under “lawyer.” There will be hundreds of names there. Don't be fazed by that. Look for those lawyers who have ads in the yellow page that specifically list discrimination as one of their preferred areas of practice. You'll find out that the number of such lawyers is quite small. Call some of them to find out if they'll handle your case on a contingency basis. Tell them that you've already contacted EEOC, and that it deems that you may have a valid case. Most lawyers do not take a case on contingency basis unless EEOC has already done the first layer of screening.

Life will be easier if it's a class action suit:

Most lawyer are more willing to take a case, if you have a “CLASS ACTION” suit. A class action suit requires a minimum of 15 plaintiffs. If you have many colleagues who have been laid off on suspected “racial or national-origin grounds,” then you have a much stronger case. You will also be subject to a lot less personal scrutiny and/or attacks by your company. If there is any possibility of finding 15 persons to form a class action suit, it will definitely be worth your effort. The plaintiffs in the "class" do not have to be named, so you do not have to convince your colleagues to join the suit.