Despite California’s robust anti-discrimination laws, thousands of San Jose area employees still endure workplace harassment and employment discrimination each year. San Jose is practically the birthplace of the booming tech business, and according to the World Economic Forum, race and gender discrimination remain rampant within the tech sector.
If you have encountered discrimination in your workplace, a San Jose employment lawyer may be able to help. Our San Jose employment discrimination lawyers at King & Siegel will fight to obtain the rights and compensation you deserve under California and federal employment discrimination laws.
What Laws Protect Californians Against Employment Discrimination?
California employers are legally barred from demonstrating bias against an employee or potential employee based on their identity and any protected class to which they belong. This conduct is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
What Is a Protected Class or Characteristic?
Workplace discrimination is a common way employers violate employee rights. This type of conduct can be financially devastating and personally dehumanizing. Under state and federal law, discrimination is when someone is mistreated at work because of a protected characteristic or because they are a member of a protected class of people. Protected characteristics include:
- Marriage and family status,
- Sexual orientation,
- National origin,
- Gender and gender identity, and
This may not be an exhaustive list. Sometimes, local and county laws or individual employer policies can add additional protections. An employment attorney can help you understand if you may qualify for additional protections.
What Kinds of Discriminatory Conduct Does the Law Prohibit?
Some conduct that may constitute prohibited employment discrimination could include:
- Relying only on word-of-mouth or agency recruiting firm that favors only white men in recruitment;
- Relying on the discriminatory preferences of employees or customers in hiring preferences, such as capitulating to customers who refuse to be served by Hispanic employees and hiring only white women as restaurant servers;
- Assigning or refusing to assign individuals to certain positions because they are Black or gay;
- Not providing equal pay to women performing similar jobs as men;
- Using customers’ or clients’ discriminatory preferences to justify discipline, demotion, or discharge decisions; and
- Tolerating or condoning behaviors from supervisors, employees, or customers that create a hostile work environment.
Some critical things to consider when assessing employment discrimination are whether the conduct was objectively hostile or offensive and whether the employee was physically threatened or intimidated. You should also take into consideration the frequency of the conduct that occurred.
What Are Some Examples of Discrimination in the Workplace?
Discrimination in the workplace can include insulting jokes, verbal remarks, being shown visual materials, and even physical assault. It can mean unequal pay or different terms and conditions of employment than your colleagues of a different sex, gender identity, race, or religion.
For instance, if there are only one or two instances of unequal pay within a company, this may be a good-faith mistake or an accounting error. It may not mean the company has discriminated against its employees. However, if all female or Asian employees are paid less than male or white employees, that may constitute employment discrimination.
You may also want to consider the context in which the conduct occurred. It is one thing for an employee to deliberately show or send a coworker a lewd picture without consent. It is quite a different situation if a colleague takes a coworker’s phone, scrolls through their photos without permission, and stumbles upon a racy photo.
When determining what kind of conduct the law prohibits, considering pervasiveness, severity, duration, and context are all extremely important factors in determining whether you have a claim. If you want to pursue your discrimination case, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) enforces state laws against discrimination. If you have been discriminated against, you can file a claim with the DFEH or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The King & Siegel team can help you navigate this process.
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.
Types of Workplace Discrimination Claims We Handle
Our San Jose employment discrimination attorneys handle many types of California discrimination cases. The types of cases we handle include:
- Age discrimination,
- Racial discrimination,
- Ethnicity discrimination,
- Pregnancy discrimination,
- Religious discrimination,
- Sexual orientation discrimination,
- National origin discrimination,
- Disability discrimination,
- Gender discrimination, and
- Sexuality discrimination.
Even if you do not see your specific type of claim listed here, please contact us. We may be able to help you move forward with your employment discrimination claim.
How Do You Start an Employment Discrimination Claim?
Check Your Company’s Policies
File a Complaint With a State or Federal Agency
Employees have three years from when the discriminatory act takes place to file a claim with DFEH. An employee may also or instead file a federal claim with the EEOC. The time limit in California for such a claim is within 300 days of the discriminatory act.
Investigations can take months, and if no resolution is reached, the agency will issue you a Notice of Right to Sue, which allows you to proceed to court. An experienced employment lawyer can help you with the ins and outs of obtaining a right-to-sue letter and proceeding to court.
Civil damages are usually the remedy in employment law cases. If you win your case against your employer, your award could include:
- Money damages for any unfair employment practices committed and your losses due to those practices,
- Reimbursement for attorney fees and expenses,
- Compensation for lost earnings or reinstatement,
- Compensation for pain and suffering, and
- Punitive damages in cases of egregious conduct by your employer.
The facts of every case will differ. You may be eligible for some or all of these types of damages. A member of the King & Siegel team can evaluate your case and tell you more.
Speak with an Experienced San Jose Employment Discrimination Attorney Today
Our King & Siegel employment attorneys were educated in some of America’s top law schools and honed their skills in some of the world’s largest firms. We pride ourselves on our passion, courtroom prowess, and compassion for our clients. Our team not only has the skill, but we also have a track record of winning millions for employees who have been wronged by their employers. Please contact us today for a free case review.
Our employment discrimination lawyers in San Jose also handle the following cases: