Generally speaking, your personal characteristics should not be the basis for any work decision that your employer makes. In fact, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) forbid employers from taking adverse employment actions against employees or job applicants based on specific protected characteristics. If you have faced job discrimination in California, one of our top Palo Alto employment discrimination lawyers at King & Siegel LLP can help you.
Types of Employment Discrimination
FEHA and Title VII protect members of the workforce from negative treatment that is based on one of the following factors:
- National origin,
- Gender, or
- Sexual orientation.
Discrimination based on one of these protected characteristics can occur in a variety of ways. And there are many ways discrimination can crop up in the above categories. Below, we take a look at different types of discrimination.
Negative, unequal treatment against an employee because they are 40 or older is illegal. However, favoring older workers over younger workers is not unlawful under state and federal anti-discrimination laws.
Race-based discrimination can be based on your race or what your employer perceives to be your race. You could also have a racial discrimination claim against your employer if it mistreats you based on the racial background (or perceived racial background) of the people in your life. If your employer disciplines you out of disapproval of your interracial relationship or friendship with someone of another racial background, you likely have a right to complain or sue.
Your religion cannot be the basis for adverse employment decisions. Also, your employer must reasonably accommodate your needs regarding the observance of your faith. An employer’s refusal to accommodate you could be the subject of a discrimination claim.
An employer’s obligation to accommodate could include making exceptions or changes to its dress code to include faith-based wardrobe needs, flexible scheduling for employees who must observe religious holidays or events, and other job modifications. But accommodating an employee’s religious practices is not required if the accommodation would cause a significant burden on the employer’s operations.
State and federal laws against sex-based and disability-based discrimination include laws that protect employees who are pregnant. If you are able to fulfill the essential functions of your job and you are pregnant, your employer cannot exclude you from job opportunities, reduce your benefits or responsibilities, or harass you. Also, many pregnant individuals have the right to take up paid or unpaid job-protected leave to address pregnancy needs that prevent them from working.
Sexual Orientation Discrimination and Gender Discrimination
Unlawful, sex-based discrimination also includes unequal treatment based on an employee’s gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation. An employer that segregates you from other employees, makes inappropriate comments about your sexual preferences or gender expression, or takes negative actions against your professional life because of your orientation or gender might owe you damages for employment discrimination.
Title VII, FEHA, and the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibit employment discrimination based on an employee’s or job candidate’s disability. If an applicant or employee is qualified for a job, their disability cannot be a reason to deny them work, benefits, or promotion.
Another form of illegal discrimination is an employer’s refusal to provide reasonable accommodations for an employee or job applicant with a disability. A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment to a job or workplace that helps a qualified individual with a disability enjoy the benefits of their employment in a way that is equal to their coworkers. Adjustments that might qualify as reasonable accommodations include the following:
- Longer or more frequent break periods,
- Assistive devices, or
- Flexible work schedules.
As long as an accommodation doesn’t impose an undue burden on your employer, your employer should provide it. However, individuals with disabilities do not always need assistance at work, and an employer cannot force you to accept an accommodation you do not request or need.
If you believe you are being discriminated against in the workplace, King & Siegel LLP welcomes you to call our legal team today at (213) 465-4802 for a free review of your case.
Initiating a Discrimination Claim
- Job denials,
- Benefit reductions,
- Undesirable transfers or assignments,
- Unequal pay,
- Demotions, or
- Unwarranted discipline.
Discrimination claims can be challenging and stressful, but a seasoned attorney can ease the process and help ensure you obtain what you deserve.
There are several ways to enforce your rights under state and federal anti-discrimination laws. To obtain remedies, you can do one or all of the following:
- File an administrative complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC),
- File an administrative complaint with the California Civil Rights Department (CRD), or
- File a civil lawsuit in federal or state court.
You typically have 180 days to file an EEOC claim and three years to file a CRD complaint. And you must file a complaint with either the CRD or EEOC and receive a notice that you have a right to sue before you can file a lawsuit in court.
There are limits to who can file a discrimination complaint. Employers are subject to federal anti-discrimination laws only if they have 15 or more employees (20 is the minimum for age discrimination complaints). And employers are liable under FEHA only if they have five or more employees. However, an employee can file a sexual harassment claim with the CRD regardless of the size of their employer’s workforce. Also, California’s employment laws tend to be more favorable toward employees. To make sure you file your complaint in the right place and on time, you should speak to an experienced employment discrimination attorney as soon as you see the signs of unlawful bias at work.
Our Attorneys Are Experienced and Get Results
Our Palo Alto employment discrimination lawyers at King & Siegel graduated from top-five law schools and trained at the biggest and best firms in the nation. And we put our top-level training to good use. Our attorneys have won millions on behalf of clients. When you need an advocate to fight for you, you can call us or contact us online for help.
Our employment discrimination lawyers in Palo Alto can also assist you with the following cases: