Answers About Workplace Discrimination

At Hennig, Ruiz & Singh in Los Angeles, our attorneys talk to workers every day who have suffered the indignity of discrimination and the financial damages that results from being fired. We also talk to people who aren’t quite sure whether they have been the victims of workplace discrimination. After all, employers are often pretty good at covering up their actions.

We think it might be helpful for you to read some of the more common questions we answer about employer discrimination. Of course, your circumstances will be unique, so please call us at to schedule an opportunity to have our staff evaluate your claims.

Q. Is workplace discrimination against state or federal law?

A. Both. California has prohibited certain forms of workplace discrimination since the passage of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) in 1959. Federal laws go as far back as the Civil Rights era in the United States. Laws prohibiting discrimination fall under all or parts of each of the following federal laws:

  • The Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963, which prohibits unequal pay based solely on gender
  • Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, prohibiting hiring discrimination based on race or national origin, faith or religious practices or the gender of the worker
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), prohibiting discrimination based solely on the age of the worker
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, mandating accommodations and prohibiting discrimination against workers with qualifying mental and physical disabilities

Q. What is covered under the laws against discrimination?

A. State and federal laws against discrimination continue to evolve, as employers seem to always find new ways to discriminate against disfavored individuals or groups of people. Employers may be found to violate state or federal laws if they engage in any of these illegal activities based on age, race or ethnicity, national origin, disability or pregnancy.

Illegal actions may include, but not be limited to:

  • Firing a worker (wrongful termination)
  • Unequal compensation and employment policies
  • Harassment with the expectation that the worker will voluntarily quit, also known as constructive discharge
  • Refusing to hire
  • Unequal hiring qualifications and credentials
  • Demotion or reassignment to a position beneath qualification level
  • Denied promotions or opportunities for career growth
  • Unnecessary transfer to another department, community, state or region
  • Permitting harassment by co-workers, supervisors or managers
  • Failure to provide reasonable accommodations for a worker with disabilities

Q. What recourse do I have if I’ve been discriminated against?

A. If you feel your current employer is actively engaging in discrimination, document everything and discuss your concerns with your human resources department.

If you have left a job because of harassment or discrimination, or have been fired in retaliation for reporting, you may have a claim for monetary compensation, including legal fees and possibly punitive damages under specific circumstances. You should not expect to be re-employed as an outcome of a settlement or award. See our Case Results page to learn more about the compensation settlements and awards we have obtained on behalf of our clients.

Q. How do I know if I have a case?

A. Many workers are surprised to learn they have a legitimate claim for damages. Many others are surprised to learn their employer had the right to fire them without cause. Discrimination can be overt or very subtle. You will not know whether you have a case until you discuss your circumstances with an experienced employment lawyer.

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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, contact us for a free consultation.