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Every worker is different, which often means that supervisors, managers, and employers may feel differently about each employee. However, if these personal opinions affect the treatment of workers, the result may be favoritism and prejudice, which can lead to illegal dismissals and discrimination. This discrimination may even be unconscious on the part of the employer. Nevertheless, workplace discrimination of any kind is generally illegal under federal and California employment law. The discrimination lawyers at Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C. have decades of experience defending the workplace rights of employees in many industries. 

If you believe you are experiencing discrimination at work anywhere in California, then contact our lawyers today. An employment discrimination attorney from our law firm can investigate your claims and explain your legal options in a free initial consultation. If you have a case, we can represent you in negotiations or in the courtroom, so you can be sure your best interests are protected.


If You Face Workplace Discrimination, Call Our Discrimination Lawyers Now

Many people know immediately if discrimination took place, whether it is an employer giving a suspicious reason for firing somebody or attacking a legally protected class (race, gender, religion, etc.).

However, some discrimination is more subtle. We can help you determine if discrimination occurred, and if so, how best to resolve the situation. The first meeting with us is free. Thus, there is absolutely no risk in asking questions and exploring your options. 

Please contact our discrimination law firm in Los Angeles County at (310) 997-4431.

Common Examples of Discrimination in the Workplace

Discrimination takes many forms. In general, discrimination is any differential treatment based solely or partially on certain traits or conditions unrelated to job performance. Anything like ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, or sex can be grounds for workplace discrimination. However, all employees deserve equitable treatment while part of an organization and a dignified exit in the event of firing. 

California employment law prohibits most kinds of workplace inequities, including:

  • Age discrimination
  • Disability discrimination
  • Gender identity discrimination
  • Institutional discrimination
  • National origin discrimination
  • Pregnancy discrimination
  • Racial discrimination
  • Religious discrimination
  • Sex and gender discrimination
  • Sexual orientation discrimination

Acts of discrimination can be expressed by an employee receiving disparate treatment and/or disparate impact. “Disparate treatment” encompasses any action by an employer or fellow employee against a person based on attributes listed above. For example, slurs, offensive jokes, comments, or other actions against workers in protected classes would constitute unlawful discrimination. Additionally, conduct often creates an intimidating/offensive working environment and may affect performance levels. On the other hand, “disparate impact” is where a company policy excludes certain individuals from job opportunities or promotions.

Which Laws Make Discrimination Illegal?

Federal and California state laws prohibit many different kinds of discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) oversees and enforces federal regulations that outlaw discrimination in the workplace. 

Federal laws apply to all companies with at least 15 employees and prohibit discrimination based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Pregnancy
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Citizenship status

California employment law is much more expansive. State laws, including the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), apply to all businesses with at least five employees. These regulations prohibit the same kinds of discrimination as federal law (apart from citizenship status).

Under federal law, employees are protected from discrimination if the employer has 15 or more employees.  We should also note that under CA law, employees are protected from discrimination if the employer has 5 or more employees.  Employees are protected from harassment under CA law even if there is only one employee.  Independent contractors are also protected from harassment by statute.  However, many independent contractor are improperly classified and are really employees protected by all employment laws.  

However, California law also makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers based on:

  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Medical conditions, including HIV/AIDS
  • Political affiliations and/or activities
  • Military history or status
  • Status as victim of a crime such as domestic violence, assault, and/or stalking

Both state and federal laws also protect whistleblowers from discrimination in the workplace. Therefore, an employer cannot dismiss or demote an employee for whistleblowing any potentially illegal activities.

Employees who are subject to unlawful termination, discriminatory treatment, and/or workplace harassment may be able to recover lost wages and the value of other benefits, both past and future, though an employment lawsuit. You also may be able to collect general damages, including compensation for emotional distress, pain and suffering, punitive damages, and attorney fees.

Workplace Concerns? Our Lawyers Provide Answers in Free Case Reviews

A divisive or hostile work environment hurts productivity, as well as the wellbeing of employees. Therefore, employers should take proactive measures to assure equity and defend the workplace rights of all employees. This includes ensuring that the company or business is free of workplace discrimination. However, if your employer fails in this duty, you may be able to collect compensation through an employment lawsuit.

If you have faced discrimination of any kind, contact an employment discrimination attorney at our law firm to schedule your free, no obligation consultation. You have rights as a worker, and we will uphold them.

Defining Workplace Discrimination

Modern labor law began in 1941 with the Fair Employment Act. This executive order prohibited racial discrimination in employment. Since then, the labor and employment laws expanded to protect employees from wrongful termination and discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, national origin, age, and disability.

Our discrimination lawyers have handled hundreds of discrimination cases. Even with the widespread legal protection that employees have, there is still a high amount of discrimination in the workplace.

Am I Being Discriminated Against at Work?

Discrimination laws govern how an employer or potential employer can interact with you. Discrimination can occur even if you are not yet an employee of the company. Being turned away from an interview or having your application declined because of reasons other than your qualifications might constitute unfair pre-employment treatment.

Discrimination can occur in a number of forms. It includes, but is not limited, to:

  • Biased recruiting, interviewing, and hiring
  • Unfair or unequal benefits during employment
  • Unfair transfers, promotions, and firings
  • Harassment
  • Threats
  • Withholding of pay, benefits, and opportunities

What are the Workplace Retaliation Laws for Discrimination?

Laws also protect employees from discrimination based on their participation in certain activities. 

An employer cannot fire you or refuse promotion if you:

  • Complain about discrimination
  • Threaten to file a discrimination complaint
  • Protest or picket against a discriminatory act done by the employer
  • Take part in or cooperate with an investigation by the EEOC

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