Discrimination is rampant in the workplace despite there being numerous laws designed to protect workers from unlawful practices.
These laws have been incorporated for decades and have helped many individuals move forward and receive compensation when they were unfairly targeted or poorly treated. Sadly, many employers seek to circumvent these laws at all costs and still do everything possible to adhere to their own standards and beliefs for their businesses. They may choose to hire only certain types of people who fit their specific criteria, and any outsiders are targeted or fired. In some cases, the employers turn a blind eye to discrimination that already occurs in the workplace, whether due to fear of backlash or due to subtle support of the actions. If you have been discriminated against at work and your employer failed to prevent it, you could file a claim against your employer. Our law firm, EMPLOYMENT ATTORNEY GROUP, seeks to enlighten workers and provide them with a means to take the action they need with the information they deserve.
What is considered discrimination under federal law?
- National origin
- Sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, etc.)
- Age (40 and older)
- Citizenship status
- Genetic information
These classes have been protected in other laws. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 specifically pertains to those who have been left physically handicapped or who need accommodations to work, while the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 specifically dealt with those individuals who were over the age of 40 suffering discrimination. Other amendments include the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
What is considered discrimination under CA Law?
Discrimination in California is not defined any differently than it is defined Federally. However, California does have other protected classes; therefore, there are numerous ways that individuals can be discriminated against in the state. They may be targeted for possessing the following qualities, traits, or characteristics:
- Marital status
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity and gender expression
- AIDS/HIV infliction
- Military or veteran status
- Victim of domestic violence, assault, or stalking
- Medical condition
- Political activities or affiliations
According to California State Law (Cal. Gov’t Code § 12940, title 2. Government of the State of California, Division 3. Executive Department, Part 2.8. Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Chapter 6. Discrimination Prohibited, Article 1. Unlawful Practices):
- (j) (1) For an employer, labor organization, employment agency, apprenticeship training program or any training program leading to employment, or any other person, because of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status, to harass an employee, an applicant, an unpaid intern or volunteer, or a person providing services pursuant to a contract. Harassment of an employee, an applicant, an unpaid intern or volunteer, or a person providing services pursuant to a contract by an employee, other than an agent or supervisor, shall be unlawful if the entity, or its agents or supervisors, knows or should have known of this conduct and fails to take immediate and appropriate corrective action. An employer may also be responsible for the acts of nonemployees, with respect to harassment of employees, applicants, unpaid interns or volunteers, or persons providing services pursuant to a contract in the workplace, if the employer, or its agents or supervisors, knows or should have known of the conduct and fails to take immediate and appropriate corrective action. In reviewing cases involving the acts of nonemployees, the extent of the employer’s control and any other legal responsibility that the employer may have with respect to the conduct of those nonemployees shall be considered. An entity shall take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment from occurring. Loss of tangible job benefits shall not be necessary in order to establish harassment.
Does My Employer Have To Prevent Discrimination Or Harassment?
Yes, according to California law, your employer must do all he can to prevent harassment or discrimination. The very next section of the aforementioned law states the following:
- (k) For an employer, labor organization, employment agency, apprenticeship training program, or any training program leading to employment, to fail to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring.
It is extremely important to understand, though, that there must have been harassment or discrimination that occurred in order to take legal action and show that your employer was negligent in his duty to prevent the action in the first place. In 2015, in Dickson v. Burke Williams, Inc., it was ruled that an employer cannot be held liable for the failure to prevent sexual harassment if none occurred.
How can I tell if I have been discriminated against?
As an employee, you can be discriminated against in both personal and professional manners. Discrimination can take the form of harassment for your religion or sex, or it can be done to prevent you from moving vertically within the company. A few examples of discrimination include:
- Passed over fro promotions
- Denied raises
- Targeted for your race, religion, sex, and more
- Bullied for your traits
- Passed over for c3ertain assignments or openings because of your age
- Refused benefits
- Denied medical leave or other kinds of leave
- Reduction of hours
- Reduced pay
- Lesser salary offers
- Violation of civil and employee rights like denial of lunch break
- Wrongful termination
Often, workers may not be able to identify discrimination because they do not see the other end of the spectrum. You should observe the interactions that other employees have with management and with other coworkers; if you are treated differently, or if you are purposely excluded from activities and promotions, you may be facing discrimination. However, if all people are subjected to poor management and unfair decisions, the mistreatment may simply be due to a poor boss.