Workplace Discrimination & Retaliation
Making The Workplace Fair For Everyone
When your identity or one of your characteristics is unjustly used against you in the workplace, it affects not only your pocketbook but your sense of self and your dignity. If you’ve been the victim of discrimination or retaliation, you may not know how to move forward. The experienced attorneys at Rothschild & Alwill, APC, know how to help employees like you, make sure your rights are protected, and hold wrongdoers accountable. We are known in Southern California for our tireless spirit, standing up to workplace discrimination, and getting results.
What Counts As Workplace Discrimination in California?
In California, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees in the workplace and job applicants based on certain protected characteristics. This means employers cannot use those characteristics as a reason for taking negative employment actions like:
- Not hiring someone
- Failing to give a promotion or a pay raise
- Reducing pay or benefits
- Termination or constructive termination (being forced to quit because conditions become too bad)
- Unfavorable job assignment or duties, or transfer to an unfavorable job or shift
- All negative decisions that significantly affect your employment terms and conditions.
Characteristics Protected From Workplace Discrimination
Some of the characteristics most commonly reported as the basis of discrimination are:
- Age – Employers may not discriminate against employees over 40 – this includes forcing them to retire.
- Race or National Origin – No employee may be subjected to adverse employment actions based on race, ancestry, national origin, or color.
- Gender – Discrimination and unequal treatment due to gender is illegal.
- Pregnancy – Discrimination due to pregnancy or any medical condition related to a pregnancy or childbirth is prohibited.
- Disability – Physically and mentally disabled employees, both short- and long- term, are protected. Employers must also reasonably accommodate disabled employees and discuss with them in good faith the accommodations necessary to perform the duties of their job.
Other employees may be protected from workplace discrimination by other characteristics such as:
- Military status
- Veteran status
- Marital status
- Medical condition
- Gender expression
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
Within some protected classifications, other characteristics may also be subject to a claim of discrimination. In California, protections are afforded for:
- An employee’s hygienic practices and cultural manner of dress
- Having an accent when speaking
- Predisposition to any type of hereditary, genetic, or other disease
- Hairstyle or head covering that is associated with any religious affiliation or culture
- Associating with anyone who is a protected class member
- Someone being perceived as a member of a protected class – even if the employee does not actually belong to the protected class
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Employees who belong to a protected class are afforded the right not to experience workplace discrimination or adverse employment actions on that basis. For example, a Muslim must not be discriminated against when working in an office where most employees identify as Christian. Employers must also avoid discriminating against someone because they legally came to the United States from another country. However, some characteristics may not be discriminated against under any circumstances – for example, race, ethnicity, color, an employee being over 40 years of age, or pregnancy.