As one of the 20,000 people employed in Indio, you expect your employer to evaluate you on your individual skills, knowledge, and abilities—not on protected personal traits.
What Laws Prohibit Discrimination in the Workplace?
In the U.S., several statutes prohibit workplace discrimination.
These laws include the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
While these federal laws are important, they ensure a minimum standard for employee rights in America.
Historically a pro-employment state, California provides additional protections for workers through the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
FEHA provides worker protections to California’s general rule allowing at-will employment, where an employer may fire an employee for any reason or no reason at all.
What Is Unlawful Workplace Discrimination?
Under FEHA, certain workplace activities are prohibited as unlawful discrimination.
Employers may not refuse to hire, discharge, or discriminate against a person in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.
FEHA makes it illegal for employers to make employment decisions based on a person’s:
- Religious creed,
- National origin,
- Physical or mental disability,
- Medical condition,
- Genetic information,
- Marital status,
- Sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression,
- Sexual orientation, or
- veteran or military status.
Discrimination occurs when a protected group member is treated differently from similarly situated employees not in the group.
Additionally, employers may not retaliate against employees who engage in FEHA-protected activities, like submitting a complaint.
What Is Age Discrimination in the Workplace?
California’s prohibition on age discrimination is meant to preserve equal access to employment opportunities for those over 40.
What Is Gender Discrimination in the Workplace?
California law prohibits harassment and discrimination in employment because of sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth), gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
The law requires employers to allow employees to take parental leave for a child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.
Employees have a right to 12 weeks off if they have worked for an employer for at least 12 months (with at least 1,250 hours worked during the last 12 months).
How Can I Report an Employer for Violating the FEHA?
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) ensures compliance with the FEHA by investigating and prosecuting complaints of violations.
If you have experienced workplace discrimination, you have two options.
First, you can file a request for DFEH to investigate your claim. You will submit the facts of your claim, documents and evidence, and witness information.
If DFEH investigates and finds evidence of a violation, they will generate a complaint and deliver it to the offender on your behalf.
DFEH generally requires the parties to attend mediation and attempt to resolve the dispute before going to court.
If you cannot resolve the issue, DFEH may choose to file a lawsuit on your behalf or issue you a right-to-sue notice.
The second option is to contact an lawyer and file a lawsuit against the offending employer directly.
Before the court accepts an employment discrimination case, you must secure a right-to-sue notice from DFEH. In 2020, DFEH received 13,708 requests for an immediate right-to-sue notice.
Without a right-to-sue letter, an employer can ask the court to dismiss the lawsuit because the employee failed to exhaust the administrative remedies.
Your workplace discrimination attorney will investigate your claim when you request an immediate right to sue.
What Are the Possible Results of a Workplace Discrimination Claim?
Workplace discrimination is serious and illegal. As a worker in California, you have the right to stand up against an employer who violates the law.
If you experience discrimination or harassment, you may file a complaint for economic and affirmative relief.
This means that in addition to a monetary award, a court might order an injunction, training and monitoring, or policy changes that improve fair job opportunities or reduce the risk of future discrimination.
The Law Office of John Dalton: Experienced Indio Workplace Discrimination Attorney
At the Law Office of John Dalton, we work to secure the best outcome for our clients.
Our attorneys have helped hundreds of employees file employment discrimination cases against some of the largest companies and government entities.
You deserve a professional, accessible attorney, and we won’t rest until you can move beyond a negative employment action. Contact our office today!