Who’s Protected from Workplace Discrimination?

Discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee or job applicant differently based on certain protected characteristics. Such protected characteristics include but are not limited to:

  • Age
  • Ancestry
  • Color
  • Disability
  • Genetics
  • Gender
  • Gender identity
  • Marital status
  • Medical condition
  • Military or veteran status
  • National origin
  • Race
  • Religion

California Anti-Discrimination Law

Federal law and the California Fair Housing and Employment Act (FEHA) provides legal protection for California employees and job applicants. Some of the protections under FEHA include:

  • Employers are prohibited from harassment of employees, applicants, unpaid interns, volunteers and independent contractors based on the protected grounds listed above. This includes gender harassment, harassment based on pregnancy, childbirth, a medical condition.
  • Employers are prohibited from limiting or prohibiting the use of any language in the workplace unless the employer can prove that it is justified by a business necessity.
  • Employers must reasonably accommodate an employee, unpaid intern, or job applicant’s religious beliefs and practices, including religious attire and physical attributes which are part of the person’s religious practice.
  • Employers must reasonably accommodate employees or job applicants with disabilities to allow them to perform essential job functions.
  • Employees, job applicants, unpaid interns, and volunteers may file complaints with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) against an employer, employment agency, or labor union that fails to provide equal employment.
  • Prohibits retaliation against a person who opposes, reports, or assists another person to oppose unlawful discrimination.

Filing a Complaint Against an Employer

Victims of employment discrimination in California may file a federal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces most federal employment discrimination laws. Alternatively, they may choose to file with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which is the state agency that enforces California employment discrimination laws.

California employment laws generally provide broader protection than federal anti-discrimination laws. In addition, California laws covers employers with 5 or more employees. Federal laws generally cover employers with 15 or more employees. Therefore, individuals working for smaller businesses may choose to file with the DFEH over the EEOC. There are strict time limitations to filing such complaints. Furthermore, before filing a lawsuit in court, a California employee may need to exhaust administrative remedies, which generally means that the employee should file a complaint with the DFEH first. If the employee wishes to pursue an immediate lawsuit, their attorney can file a complaint with the DFEH and obtain a right to sue letter from the DFEH within a day or two after filing. This allows the employee to seek remedies through the court system. Just like filing a complaint with the EEOC or DFEH, there are strict time limitations to filing a discrimination lawsuit with the court.

Damages Available to Victims of Workplace Discrimination

If proven that you have been a victim of discrimination you may be entitled to the following monetary damages:

  • Lost wages
  • Loss of income based on demotion or failure to promote
  • Pension benefits
  • Bonus payments
  • Health benefits
  • Pain and suffering

Contact Culver Law Firm for a Free Consultation

At Culver Law Firm, we offer contingency fee agreements. This means that you do not pay any attorney fees until the case is settled. We will work on your behalf to obtain the best possible settlement or verdict; our fees will be covered in the final settlement. There are no up-front fees for our representation. You only pay attorney fees if we recover money for your injuries. If we fail to settle your case or receive a favorable verdict, you pay not attorney fees.

If you are a victim of workplace discrimination, contact Culver Law Firm for a free consultation. Our consultations are always confidential; you can trust us to represent your interests fairly. We help you to get back on the road to recovery.

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