Discrimination occurs when an employer treats their employee differently because of his/her legally protected status. Discrimination at work usually involves a negative employment action, for example, a demotion, reduction or loss of compensation, or termination. Under Federal and California law, protected categories include an employee's age, gender, race or ancestry, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, medical condition, family responsibility, pregnancy, marital status, political activity, and veteran status . Protected status extends to the employee's relationship with someone else in a protected category, for example, another employee.
California and Federal law prohibit different kinds of employment discrimination. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA") is the primary state statute prohibiting discrimination in employment. The FEHA prohibits discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination and retaliation when it is based on any of the protected categories mentioned above. Federally, the U.S. Code, Title VII, contains equal employment statutes. Frequently, government agencies like the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the California Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing investigate these types of claims before a lawsuit is filed.
The California Family Rights Act ("CFRA") offers protection to employees who must take leave from work for a serious medical condition, for the birth of a child, for adoption or foster care of a child, or for a serious medical condition of the employee's child, spouse, or parent.
Additionally, Federal laws are on the books that guarantee employees protection from illegal employer discrimination, including:
- The Equal Pay Act ("EPA"), which protects employees who perform equivalent work from gender-based wage discrimination;
- The Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), which protects disabled employees and obligates employers to provide reasonable accommodation;
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in employment based on sex, race, color, national origin, or religion;
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), which protects employees 40 years of age or older from age-based discrimination;
- The Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), which provides leave protections similar to the California Family Rights Act.
Blady Workforce Law Group's employment lawyers have successfully litigated employment discrimination claims. If you are considering a claim for being terminated, not hired, or not promoted due to discrimination (based on a protected category), you may want to retain a BW Law Group employment discrimination attorney. Please contact us for a consultation at 323-933-1352.