According to recent statistics, San Francisco has paid tens of millions of dollars over the past 12 or so years to resolve various lawsuits, most of which were filed at the hands of employees who had been victimized by some form of discrimination. To break down the numbers, since 2007, San Francisco has had to resolve 57 wrongful termination cases and 55 racial discrimination cases filed by employees against the city.

Additionally, there were 51 paid claims of employment discrimination on the basis of disability, and 14 claims related to gender discrimination. In addition to these gender discrimination claims, there were also 21 claims of sexual harassment. Overall, these claims made up over half of all cases in which San Francisco paid money to settle lawsuits.

The dollars paid with respect to these claims is quite staggering. Not counting the city’s legal costs and expenses, employment-related settlements resulted in over $22 million in payouts to employees who were victims of discrimination. This number accounts for well over 80 percent of the city’s overall litigation-related settlement payments.

These numbers only go to show that employment discrimination remains a huge problem in California. All employers, public and private, have an obligation to take steps to prevent this sort of offensive and unlawful behavior from happening in this state’s workplaces.

When an employer actively discriminates against an employee on an unlawful basis, or if the employer allows a hostile and discriminatory work environment to fester unchecked, victims should remember that they do have the option to pursue compensation.