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Workplace Discrimination in California: Common Questions, Answered

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If you are employed in California, you likely know that there are state and federal employment laws to protect you from illegal workplace discrimination. But if you feel you may be a victim of discrimination at work, you may need more detailed information on what constitutes workplace discrimination and what your rights are before you seek help with filing a discrimination complaint.

This article will answer commonly asked questions about workplace discrimination to help you understand California employment laws and your rights related to these unlawful employer behaviors.

workplace-discrimination-california-common-questions.png

If you are employed in California, you likely know that there are state and federal employment laws to protect you from illegal workplace discrimination. But if you feel you may be a victim of discrimination at work, you may need more detailed information on what constitutes workplace discrimination and what your rights are before you seek help with filing a discrimination complaint.

This article will answer commonly asked questions about workplace discrimination to help you understand California employment laws and your rights related to these unlawful employer behaviors.

Common Questions About Workplace Discrimination in California

What is workplace discrimination?

Also referred to as employment discrimination, workplace discrimination can take on many forms, but typically involves an employee being subjected to negative treatment in the form of "adverse employment actions," by their employer because of his or her membership in a "protected class" under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Adverse Employment Actions can range from unfair disciplinary action, to denial of raises and even termination.

Who are the protected classes under Title VII?

Title VII protects workers against unlawful workplace discrimination due to race, national origin, sex and religion. The law applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments, labor organizations, employment agencies, and the federal government.

The California FEHA takes these protections further by making it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers based on race, ethnicity, disability, national origin, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, religious creed, and more. FEHA also protects employees of employers with 5 or more employees.

Federal and state employment laws prohibit employers from discriminating against individuals in these protected classes in regard to recruiting, hiring, promotion, transfer, work assignments, performance measurements, work environment, wages and benefits and other privileges of employment.

What is the EEOC, and what does it do?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is an agency that is responsible for enforcing federal discrimination laws that affect both employees and job applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, and other genetic information.

What is the DFEH?

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is a state agency that is responsible for enforcing civil rights laws in the state of California. The DFEH protects California employees and job applicants from illegal workplace discrimination, as well as housing and public accommodations.

What are the most common forms of workplace discrimination?

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the three most common workplace discrimination charges filed with the agency nationwide in 2014 were those dealing with race, sex, and national origin. Similarly, these were the top three discrimination charge types filed in the state of California alone during the same year.

What are the signs of workplace discrimination?

If you have been subjected to any of the following common unlawful employer behaviors due to your membership of any of the aforementioned protected classes, you may wish to seek assistance from an experienced employment attorney immediately:

  • An employer refused to hire you.
  • You have been verbally abused by your employer.
  • You have been physically abused or threatened with violence by your employer or coworkers.
  • You have been cyber bullied by your employer or coworkers.
  • You have been unfairly disciplined at work.
  • You have received negative performance reviews.
  • You have been excluded from project meetings.
  • You have been denied ongoing training.
  • You have been denied a promotion or raise.
  • You have been denied benefits.
  • Your workload has increased.
  • Your hours have decreased or your work shifts changed suddenly.
  • You have been terminated.

Do you have additional questions about workplace discrimination? Let us know in the comments.

More Information on Workplace Discrimination:

  • How to File a Workplace Discrimination Complaint in California
  • Types of Workplace Discrimination: EEOC
  • The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

If you feel you've been subjected to unlawful employer discrimination in California, contact the experienced workplace discrimination attorneys at Hennig Ruiz for your free consultation.

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