If you believe you have been the victim of workplace discrimination in the Los Angeles area, JCS Law Firm can help you figure out your best options for recovering past and future wages and lost income, emotional distress damages, and even punitive damages in some circumstances to punish the employer. Punitive damages ensure that your employer does not continue to violate your rights and the rights of other employees.
Complete our contact form, or call us today, at 310-923-7839 to schedule a free case evaluation and to explore the steps you need to take to hold your employer responsible for violations of California employment laws.
What Is Workplace Discrimination?
Discrimination can occur in a number of ways and affects each employee differently. Any form of discrimination is a violation of federal and state discrimination laws when the victims are members of a protected class. Most incidents fall into one of these categories:
- Disparate treatment: Perhaps the best-known type of discrimination, occurs when an employee suffers discrimination or retaliation based on his or her protected characteristics. An example is when an employer terminates an employee who had a physical or mental disability who needed workplace accommodations for their disabilities. Disparate treatment also occurs when the employer hires a less-qualified white candidate instead of a well-qualified minority candidate.
- Harassment: Harassment is one factor in the definition of a “hostile work environment.” Some examples that create this type of abusive environment include coworkers who use racial slurs, make unwanted sexual advances and/or sexual comments, or joke about a protected characteristic.
- Disparate impact: This refers to a situation where the employer puts a policy in place that targets a specific protected class. In most cases, this is not a situation with an individual victim, but one where all employees with the same protected characteristic suffer harm. For example, an employer may have a policy that all employees have to be a certain height, which may have a disparate impact on women who tend to be shorter than men on average.
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Laws Which Protect Employees From Discrimination
The U.S. government has multiple laws in place to prevent workplace discrimination. These laws include:
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
California has one main set of laws meant to prevent discrimination in the workplace, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). This law is wide-reaching and offers additional protections above and beyond the federal laws. For this reason, most employees who file discrimination claims in Los Angeles base their claims on the FEHA.
Who Has Protection From Discrimination Under California Law (FEHA)?
FEHA offers protection against discrimination and harassment in several categories which include:
- National Origin or Ancestry
- Physical or Mental Disability
- Medical Condition
- Marital Status
- Sex (Gender)
- Age (over 40)
- Sexual orientation
Who Is Responsible for Discrimination in the Workplace?
In most cases, the employer is responsible for discrimination in the workplace and it is our job to hold your employer accountable. This is especially true when the discriminatory acts are pervasive and a part of the company culture. If a supervisor discriminates against an employee who belongs to a protected class, the company can be held responsible under the doctrine of strict liability.