Discrimination

California has some of the strictest employment laws in the nation, preserving your right to receive fair treatment and equal benefits and protecting you from being exposed to hostile or discriminatory acts in the workplace.

Discrimination Comes in Many Forms

Workplace Discrimination

Workplace discrimination takes many forms, both explicit and more subtle, all negatively affecting the victim’s professional and personal life. Generally, discrimination means less favorable workplace conditions bases on an employee’s membership in one or more of the protected groups listed below. California law provides some of the strongest workplace protections in the nation but it takes an experienced attorney to help you fight for your rights.

These are various types of discrimination that are prohibited by the law:

Age Discrimination

If you have been fired, denied a promotion, or reassigned to different job duties because of your age, you may be a victim of age discrimination. Under the federal and state laws that protect the rights of employees aged 40 and above.

Although older employees can be a valuable asset in the workplace by offering greater insight and expertise, they are often illegally discriminated against due to misconceptions about the relationship between their age and employment.

Employers may operate on the false assumption that older employees would cost the employer more in medical expenses, cost them more in wages due to their experience, or be less diligent workers. Consequently, under the guise of reasons unrelated to age – such as corporate restructuring or downsizing – employers may justify unfavorable treatment toward older employees.

Disability Discrimination

Federal and California laws prohibit employers from discriminating against persons with disabilities. A disability can be both mental or physical. Disability discrimination in the workplace can be based on an actual or perceived disability, as well as a disability that had been suffered at an earlier time. Additionally, employees or applicants who are related to a person with a disability are protected by these laws.

An employer is forbidden from treating an employee or applicant unfairly because of an actual or perceived disability, or a disability they suffered in the past, or because the employee needs to provide care for a person suffering from a disability, in any facet of employment, including but not limited to: hiring, firing, promotions, pay, layoff, and training.

Unless providing reasonable accommodation to an employee or applicant with a disability would cause the employer undue hardship, the employer is required by law to provide reasonable accommodation to the employee or applicant. In addition, an employer has an obligation to engage in an interactive process with an employee to determine what type of accommodations can be made.

Failure To Hire Discrimination

Discrimination in the workplace can occur before a hire is even made. The laws barring workplace discrimination also cover the employment process, including the pre-employment phase. Employers might not be aware of these laws or may knowingly conduct illegal and discriminatory hiring and recruiting processes.

This includes conduct or decisions made at the hiring stage. A failure to hire claim is a potential employee’s allegation that the employer would have hired him or her but for its reliance on one of the protected categories or other conduct in violation of anti-discrimination laws.

An employer who acts improperly based on any of the protected categories below may be subjected to a failure to hire discrimination claim:

  • Race/Color, Religion, Sex/Gender, Pregnancy, Nationality, Age, Physical or Mental Disabilities, Military Service, Bankruptcy or Association with a Bankrupt Debtor, Immigration Status, or Genetic Information.

Gender/Sex Discrimination

Gender discrimination in the workplace continues to be a major problem in the workplace despite the passing of time since laws such as Title VII or the Equal Pay Act were enacted to combat the issue.

Sex or gender discrimination at work occurs whenever an individual is treated differently on account of their gender or sex and may affect anything from hiring decisions to promotions.

Hair Discrimination

The CROWN (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair) Act is a California law which prohibits discrimination based on hair style and hair texture and is the first legislation passed at the state level in the United States to prohibit such discrimination.

While all women experience pressure to conform to certain standards of appearance, society’s bias has resulted in unfair judgment and discrimination against Black women based on hair texture and protective hairstyles, including braids, locs, and twists, that are inherent to their race. This means, Black women can be denied opportunities for employment or professional advancement without consequence.

LGBTQ+ Discrimination

Employers are not allowed to discriminate against job applicants or employees because the applicants or employees are, for example, straight or cisgender (someone whose gender identity corresponds with the sex assigned at birth). Title VII prohibits harassment and other forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Employers also are not allowed to segregate employees based on actual or perceived customer preferences. (For example, it would be discriminatory to keep LGBTQ+ employees out of public-facing positions, or to direct these employees toward certain stores or geographic areas.)

Race/Color Discrimination

If you are treated unfairly because your skin color or race, this is a form of race discrimination. In addition, you can claim race discrimination if you are treated unfairly because you are married to or associated with someone of a certain race or color.

Race discrimination includes discriminating against an employee or job applicant based on: racial stereotypes, physical characteristics, culture, national origin, ancestry, birthplace, language, and even surname. Color discrimination is discriminating against an employee or applicant on the basis of his or her skin color; therefore, a discrimination claim can be based on the color of an employee’s skin rather than race, even if the alleged harasser is of the same race.

Size/Weight Discrimination

Discrimination against those that are overweight may lead to a lawsuit based on disability discrimination or weight discrimination. The rights of those covered under this law also qualify under additional laws for equality and fair employment in California and other states. Termination of employment based on weight bias is illegal.

Workplaces are required to make reasonable accommodations for those that necessitate assistance with the usual work duties due to an actual disability, perception of a disability or history of a disability. Making such accommodations may avoid potential lawsuits, as well as by avoiding discrimination based on a person’s disability.

Did You Know

If you’ve experienced a distressing discrimination incident related to an issue like this, call us for a free case evaluation.

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All discrimination is unfair; but when acts of bias or discrimination violate the law, you have the power to defend your rights. Let us help you find the right course of action.