Types of Workplace Discrimination
While businesses in California can make employment decision at will and with little to no explanation, both state and federal laws prohibit an employer from discriminating against employees or applicants based on certain factors. Workplace discrimination comes in different forms, and each situation is unique. If you believe you were the victim of unlawful employment discrimination, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact an experienced employment attorney to discuss your specific situation and your rights.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act prevent a business from making any employment decisions based on unlawful discrimination. California employees are protected from discrimination based on any of the following actual or perceived factors:
● National origin
● Genetic information
● Medical condition
● Sexual orientation
● Gender identity
● Gender expression
● Marital status
● Military status
● Veteran status
Such factors cannot be the basis for any employment decision, including hiring, promotions, transfers, pay increases, benefits, or termination. In fact, employers may not even ask applicants for information regarding the above on applications. The law also requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations for employees based on a disability or their religion when requested. If an employer refuses to provide reasonable accommodations, it constitutes unlawful discrimination.
Not all forms of discrimination involve employment decisions, as the law also prohibits harassment based on any of the above factors. While one of the most common forms of workplace harassment is sexual harassment, employees can also experience unlawful harassment based on religion, disability, race, language, or any protected factor.
An isolated comment will not usually rise to the level of unlawful harassment. Instead, harassment must create a hostile work environment to be unlawful. This means that the harassment must be so pervasive or offensive that a reasonable person would find the work environment to be hostile. In addition, employees can suffer quid pro quo sexual harassment. This occurs when someone in a position of authority threatens to base employment decisions – either positive or negative – on an employee’s willingness or refusal to engage in sexual activity.
The law also protects an employee’s right to complain about unlawful workplace discrimination or harassment without the fear of retaliation from an employer. Retaliation for complaints can come in many forms, including:
● Undesirable transfer or schedule changes
● Reduction of hours
● Refusal of a promotion or pay increase
Employers will commonly give an alternative reason for such adverse employment decisions to mask the retaliation. Asserting your rights will require you to prove that the employer’s given reasons were pretextual and that the adverse employment action was truly retaliatory.
Contact a California Employment Law Attorney to Discuss Your Situation
At Jafari Law Group, our skilled California employment lawyers work to protect the rights of employees against unlawful workplace discrimination. These cases can be complex, so you want the right legal team on your side. Please call 949-362-0100 or contact us online for a free case evaluation today, and we can advise you of your legal rights and options.