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California startup faces discrimination claims

Startups are a big thing in California's world of business. Small companies backed by lots of capital from investors, they are often the crucible for innovative products and creative, more efficient ways of providing services people need.

However, in their zeal to grow and develop, it is very important that these startup businesses not forget their obligations to follow all applicable laws, particularly those that protect employees from discrimination on the basis of race or other prohibited factors.

One startup in a city north of the Los Angeles area found this out the hard way recently when an employee sued for racial discrimination. The man stated that he was the only person of Mexican descent hired at the startup, which was managed by people who are Pakistani.

He said that the was subject to various derogatory remarks and harassment because of his origin, and he also suggested that other ethnic minority groups, Pakistanis excepted, were being passed over for better positions in the company.

He also claimed that he had faced retaliation because he was concerned that the business's structure and practices were out of compliance with certain lending laws. This startup, founded from capital contributed by employers like Wal Mart and Goodwill, allows employees to take an advance on their paychecks. In exchange, employees pay a flat fee as opposed to interest.

The man said that due to work-related stress, he initially took a medical leave of absence for one month. However, after expressing his concerns about business practices again, he was fired while on leave.

Like other businesses, startups must protect workers of all races from discrimination, and they must also allow employees to express legitimate concerns about the legality of the business's practice. When they do not do so, employees may have legal options.

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