UCLA Surgeon Files Lawsuit Against University for Racial Harassment, Discrimination

June 6, 2012

An interesting Los Angeles workplace discrimination case that Vincent Howard has been watching, has recently dominated the Los Angeles, California employment law headlines--after a prominent African-American surgeon filed a lawsuit against the UC Board of Regents in April, alleging that UCLA failed to stop harassment, discrimination, and retaliation based on race during his employment with the university.

Dr. Christian Head, an African-American head and neck surgeon at UCLA Medical Center, reportedly filed the complaint, claiming that UCLA failed to address the racial slights against him during his career, hoping that the lawsuit will put an end to the hostile work environment that he clams he endured while working as a UCLA surgeon and faculty member.

Head has also posted a six-minute video on YouTube, discussing the alleged harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, accusing the university of turning a blind eye to workplace racism. In the video, Head discusses an annual resident graduation event from 2006, where his head was photoshopped onto the image of a gorilla on all fours, and his boss' head was photoshopped onto a naked white man who was sodomizing the gorilla from behind, smiling.

After allegedly reporting the demeaning depiction, Head claims that the request for responsible action to be taken was dismissed, and he claims he was told to focus on tenure and not draw attention to the issue. Head claims that instead, after he received tenure, the alleged racial harassment and discrimination grew with each complaint, resulting in retaliation that included pay cuts and the denial of other employment opportunities.

As Vincent Howard has previously discussed in a Santa Ana labor and employment lawyers blog, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, discrimination against individuals based on race, color, gender, national origin, or religion in any terms, conditions or privileges of employment, including hiring, advancements, termination, and employment training is against the law.

Dr. Head's attorney claims that he is a reputable doctor who is being punished for reporting his harassment, discrimination and retaliation, after reporting the treatment to his boss, his department, the administrator in the chancellor's office, and the regents--before turning to the legal system. Head claims he turned to the courts because he distrusted the university's internal process.

Last week, student and community groups gathered together in UCLA's Bruin Plaza to show support for Dr. Head, and his racial discrimination lawsuit against the university. According to the Daily Bruin, members of the UCLA Afrikan Student Union, the NAACP, and the Black Alumni Association from UCLA gathered to express solidarity for Dr. Head--calling on the university to investigate the charges in a thorough manner.

If you or someone you know in Orange County, California has experienced race-based harassment, discrimination, or retaliation in the workplace, our team of Anaheim-based labor and employment attorneys at Howard Law, PC can help you with your employment issue. Call Vincent Howard today, for a free consultation at 1-800-872-5925.

UCLA doctor accuses university of racism, harassment, ABCLocal.com, May 24, 2012

Community rallies behind UCLA surgeon Dr. Christian Head, who filed lawsuit against UC, Daily Bruin, May 31, 2012

UCLA surgeon Dr. Christian Head's lawsuit against UC regents gains support through petition, Daily Bruin, May 24, 2012

Christian Head, Black UCLA Medical School Doctor, Files Lawsuit After Alleged Gorilla Depiction, The Huffington Post, May 18, 2012

Related Web Resources:

Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH): The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC: Laws Enforced by EEOC

Facts About Race/Color Discrimination, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC

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