Lawyers Protecting Workers From Discrimination
At Hennig, Ruiz & Singh, our employment litigation lawyers represent workers in all aspects of employment discrimination under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). California’s anti-discrimination laws were generally written to provide greater protection from discrimination and harassment than federal law, and as a result, our office uses those laws to help protect workers and obtain compensation for violations committed by employers against their employees.
Discriminatory Actions In The Workplace
Employers have ways of discriminating that may not always be obvious. Discrimination can be as bold as firing someone for speaking Spanish or as subtle as refusing to promote an older worker who may be nearing retirement. Workplace discrimination can be based on:
- Retaliation for whistleblower actions
- Retaliation for reporting government contract fraud
- A worker’s age (over 40)
- The race, ethnicity or national origin of an employee
- A worker’s sex or gender
- The sexual orientation or gender identity of an employee
- A worker’s pregnancy or need for family or medical leave
- An employee’s disability or medical condition
- A worker’s declared religion or professing no faith
- The employee’s family or marital status
If you believe your employer’s policies or actions are discriminatory, you may have a valid claim for damages under state or federal law.
Harassment can best be described as insults and physical gestures that communicate hostility toward a person based on a protected characteristic. While we often think of harassment as being sexual in nature (i.e., inappropriate comments about clothing or appearance or requests for sexual favors), harassment can take many forms, including:
- Requests for sexual favors in exchange for employment or employment benefits (quid pro quo)
- Sexual comments or comments of a sexual nature
- Insults based upon a protected characteristic (racial slurs, epithets, stereotypes)
- Visual harassment (sharing of offensive pictures, videos or items)
- Offensive gestures (pantomiming sexual acts or violent acts connected with a protected characteristic)
- Negative comments based upon a protected characteristic (speaking negatively about a racial or ethnic group, offensive comments about people with disabilities)
- Physical contact (groping, hitting, touching)
To be actionable, harassment must be either severe (extreme) or pervasive (frequent or widespread). If you believe that you have been the victim of harassment based upon a protected characteristic, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries this conduct has caused you.
Sexual Orientation Harassment Case Settled For $1.5 million
Our firm represented an employee who worked in a group environment where he was subjected to near daily harassment based upon his sexual orientation, including being sent homoerotic pornography, being physically assaulted and battered, and being called gay and ethnic slurs over a period of years. Our attorneys fought hard to build the client’s case and ultimately obtained a settlement of $1.5 million in pretrial negotiations.
Steps To Take If You Have Suffered Discrimination
Document the discrimination and follow your employer’s internal policies or procedures for making a complaint. A record of discriminatory treatment and documentation of complaints are key evidence in any claim for discrimination.
Contact Us To Discuss Your Employment Law Case
Please visit our Do I Have A Case? page to answer a few questions relating to your circumstances. If the questionnaire indicates you may have a case against your employer, call us at 213-985-1305 or contact us by email for a free consultation at our Los Angeles office.