Reverse discrimination is when a member of a majority, or favored group, claims they were the victim of discrimination at the hands of a member of a minority, or disfavored group. Examples are a white person alleging discrimination by an African American person, or a male alleging discrimination by a female.
Reverse discrimination is a controversial topic in the United States because some consider affirmative action policies and racial quotas forms of reverse discrimination.
Landmark California Discrimination Case
In 1977, a California medical school denied admission to a white applicant, which led to a landmark case in the nation’s highest court. Allan Bakke applied to the University of California Davis Medical School. The medical school sought a more diverse racial and ethnic student body, and Bakke was competing for one of only 100 open spots. The school reserved 16 of the open spots for minority applicants in order to address the small number of existing minority students already enrolled. Grade point averages and standardized test scores were less stringent for the 16 reserved spots.
The medical school denied Bakke’s application twice. He sued alleging the school violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with its racial and ethnic preferences in admission, and that it violated his right to equal protection under the United States Constitution. He was claiming, essentially, that he was a victim of reverse discrimination.
The school stressed the benefits of educating a diverse student body, creating role models for minority youth and providing medical services to minority communities. The Supreme Court ruled that the school may factor racial criteria in the admissions process, as long as there were no fixed quotas. Bakke won.
Since the Bakke case, reverse discrimination cases have made headlines. In 2003, 12 San Francisco police officers sued the police department claiming that African American officers received more promotions to lieutenant. The parties reached a settlement without the city admitting wrongdoing.
There are state and federal laws in place to prevent discrimination in the school and workplace. Workers should not feel intimidated if they report instances of discrimination, and California employers cannot retaliate against an employee who complains of discrimination.
Your discrimination case may not make headlines or require the United States Supreme Court, but an experienced Los Angeles discrimination attorney can help either way. Anyway you look at it discrimination is wrong and illegal. Contact a Los Angeles discrimination lawyer if you feel you are a discrimination victim.