Hiring-Discrimination-from-the-Inside-How-Hiring-Managers-can-Make-a-Difference.jpg (2149×1159)We often talk about how employees can spot discrimination and protect themselves or their coworkers. We talk about making a change by pointing out the discrimination or taking legal action. But hiring managers are also responsible for upholding ethical hiring practices, even if it goes against your company’s stated policies. If you are a hiring manager looking at a clearly discriminating hiring policy, you can make a difference, too. Whether that difference can be made from the inside or must be enacted through outside force.

People often think of hiring managers as the perpetrators of discrimination, but this often isn’t the case. Hiring managers answer to superiors and are usually given a set of policies to follow. Many hiring managers feel torn between complying with company policy and doing what they know is right. The most important thing to know here is that the law is on your side.

Why Hiring Managers Should Take Action

As a hiring manager, you are in one of the most powerful positions to quash discriminating policies and even change your company culture from the inside. When you see a hiring policy that would stop you from hiring the most qualified person based on an unfair factor, it’s in the best interest of you, the candidate, and your entire company to push for change.

You can push back on the policy to see if the structure gives in favor of change. You can quietly hire against the policy and let the results speak for themselves. And you can accept that if your company flips and fights your fair hiring practices, they are making it clear that you and they are not a good ‘cultural fit’ to begin with. Ethical hiring managers have every reason to fight back against biased hiring policies.

Changing Company Policy from the Inside

If you’re lucky, a discriminating hiring policy is nothing more than legacy from a bygone era and no one’s bothered to change it. Other managers may have already been ignoring the biased written policy and you may be free to do the same. In a best-case scenario, you can point out that these policies are illegal to HR and they will quickly change the written policies from that point onward.

In slightly rougher situations, you may hit resistance. At which point, you remind everyone that biased hiring policies are illegal. Then mention how changing these policies will reduce hiring costs and potentially increase office efficiency. Many execs will be swing by those well-made arguments alone. 

Hiring Based on Your Own Ethical Policies

If you don’t get any response or are pushed to make a hiring decision based on current policies, make the ethical choice. Don’t let your company’s unethical hiring policies make you do something unethical. Hire the best person for the job, and consider being frank with your new hire about the fact that you’re pushing back.

Maybe your new hire will be a hit and policies will change as a result. Many offices base their documented changes based on results and precedent. A few non-discriminating hires that rock at their respective roles can quickly change the tune of exec and get those policies re-written to achieve your awesome hiring results.

Taking Your Employer to Court Over Hiring Discrimination

If you point out illegal policies to HR, ask for policies to be changed, and hire ethically despite policies; ideally, all would be well. But if your employer resists despite legal implications or, worse, retaliates against you for ethical hiring then it may be time to get legal.

Hiring an employment lawyer shows your employer that you mean business. If necessary, you can take them to court to expose their discriminatory hiring practices and force those policies to change. You may even keep your position to spearhead the implementation of those changes.

Hiring managers are often caught between the ‘rock-and-hard place’ of following unethical policies or defying the policies of their employer. If you are a manager in this position, we can help. 

Here at Aiman-Smith and Marcy, our legal team is dedicated to stopping unethical employment practices wherever they are found. If you can’t change your company from the inside by setting a good example, we can help you change it from the outside using the force of California employment law. Contact us today to consult on your workplace hiring policies.

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Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986