March 7, 2023

Racial discrimination in the workplace has been a pervasive problem throughout California’s history. While discrimination can occur in any industry or occupation, some industries and occupations have historically been more prone to discrimination than others.

The following are a few key examples:

Industries and Occupations with Historical Patterns of Racial Discrimination

The manufacturing industry has been known for racial discrimination in the past. In the early 20th century, African American workers were often relegated to low-paying and dangerous jobs in manufacturing plants. Discrimination continued through the mid-20th century, with African American workers being denied promotions and training opportunities.
Agriculture has also been a historically discriminatory industry. African American workers were often paid less than white workers and were given the most dangerous and labor-intensive tasks. Discrimination in agriculture continued even after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. Naturally, this has yielded improvements, but that doesn’t mean racial discrimination in agriculture has been eliminated or addressed entirely.
The construction industry has a long history of racial discrimination, particularly in unionized trades such as carpentry and plumbing. African American workers were often excluded from union membership and denied training opportunities. While this is another example of an industry in which great strides have been made, we can’t grow complacent and assume that racial discrimination will never again be an issue that workers in the construction field may encounter. This complacent attitude can allow the progress that has been made to be undone.
Service Industries
Service industries such as food service and hospitality have also been known for racial discrimination in the past. As with many of the other examples here, there was a time when it was common for workers of certain races in these industries to often have minimal opportunities for advancement.
Law Enforcement
Law enforcement has been known for racial discrimination throughout history. African American officers have often faced discrimination and have been denied promotions and leadership positions. Of course, factors such as location can impact the degree to which racial discrimination is or isn’t a problem in a given law enforcement office.
Education has also been a historically discriminatory occupation. African American teachers were often paid less than white teachers and were given less support and resources. Discrimination in education continues to this day, with African American students being disproportionately disciplined and suspended.

Again, progress has been made in all these areas, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more work to be done. It’s also important to note that African Americans aren’t the only ones who can face racial discrimination in the workplace. Others may be victims as California continues to become more and more diverse.

Additionally, all employees should remember that racial discrimination can happen in virtually all industries and occupations. If you’ve been a victim of this particular form of workplace mistreatment, strongly consider reviewing your case with a lawyer for more information about your legal rights. At JML Law, a Los Angeles workplace discrimination attorney will help you better understand how you may pursue justice. Get started today by contacting us online or calling us at 818-610-8800.