SANTA BARBARA COUNTY (805) 845-1190 | BAKERSFIELD (661) 369-8510

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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
  • Demotion
  • 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.
Man yelling at woman. Another man telling the first man to leave.

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:

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


Protected Groups

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.  

Protection From Workplace Discrimination and Retaliation

In California, employees have a broad variety of legal protections both against discrimination and taking steps to report or address discrimination. Not only is discrimination illegal, but any retaliatory actions taken by employers against employees that report discriminatory acts, file discrimination lawsuits, or aid in investigations regarding these types of practices are also prohibited by state and federal law. This is done to protect employees who fear retaliation for speaking out about misconduct at work.We believe that immigrants who choose to live and work in California make our state the best it can be. As such, state law also bans English-only policies in the workplace unless justified by a business necessity.

Workplace Retaliation

Many workers are afraid to speak out, fearing employer retaliation. Federal and state laws prohibit employers from taking any retaliatory actions against employees that report discriminatory acts or harassment, file discrimination lawsuits, or aid in investigations regarding these types of practices. If you were demoted, wrongfully terminated, or suffered any other negative employment action after reporting discrimination, your employer may be guilty of unlawful retaliation. We can help you fight back.

Get Help Today

If you’re a victim of workplace discrimination or retaliation, contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation and see how we can help you. Call us in Bakersfield at 661-369-8510 or in Santa Barbara at 805-845-1190 to arrange your consultation. Se habla Español.