Arnett Hartsfield Jr. Leaves a Legacy of Equality in Los Angeles
A Los Angeles legend, Arnett Hartsfield Jr., has died. He was a leading figure in combatting racial discrimination for African-Americans in the LA fire department.
From 1940 to 1961, he served in the fire department while earning a law degree. His years of service coincided with a huge transition in American fire departments. For instance, the fire department was not integrated until 1955, and when African-American firefighters were transferred to new departments, they were met with open hostility. Yet, they were still isolated after integration, as they were not allowed to sit with or eat with white firefighters, drink the station coffee, read the station newspaper or use the station pay phone for personal calls.
When he left the department, he went to court and passionately argued against inequality in promotions and the ongoing racial harassment at the station. Mr. Hartsfield, despite having a college degree and over two decades of service, was never promoted at the department. In 1997, he organized the African American Firefighters Museum, which is housed in a former pre-integration all-black firehouse.
Mr. Hartfield made a huge impact on our country, but his work is not complete. Workplace discrimination still exists in the forms of age, disability, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation discrimination.
Is Racial Discrimination Still Common in the Workplace?
Racial discrimination is still the leading form of employment discrimination, according to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC’s study has finished combing through discrimination charges from 2011 and found 99,947 cases of employment discrimination. The most common forms of discrimination were the following:
- Race 35.4 percent, (45,395 charges)
- Gender 28.5 percent
- Disability 26 percent
- Age 23.5 percent
- National origin 11.8 percent
- Religion 4.2 percent
How Do I File a Racial Discrimination Charge?
If you feel that you have been subjected to racial discrimination, you must start by filing a complaint with a state or local agency. You can also file a federal complaint with the EEOC. Any agency you apply to has the option of accepting your case or declining it. If accepted, they will soon work towards prosecution for you. However, if they do not accept your case, you can still hire a Los Angeles discrimination lawyer and launch a private lawsuit. The Law Offices of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob offer free consultations to those wondering if they can sue their employer for racial discrimination. They can help you throughout the process, from filling out the initial claim to appealing a denied claim, if necessary.