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What rules are there against workplace discrimination?

Rules exist against workplace discrimination to prevent California residents from experiencing negative work outcomes for illegitimate reasons. These reasons include race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, medical condition, pregnancy, national origin, religion, military service, and association with a disabled co-worker or disabled family member. This blog post will quickly describe some of the kinds of discrimination that are not permitted under California law.

For starters, employers may not allow discrimination against job applicants, unpaid interns or employees in hiring, assignments, promotions or terminations. It is also illegal to discriminate in any condition, term or privilege of employment. Employers must reasonably accommodate the disabilities of job applicants and employees so they can do the essential functions of a job. Employers must also reasonably accommodate job applicants’ and employees’ religious practices, including religious clothing, jewelry and hairstyles.

Employers must also take steps to halt harassment in the workplace. Employers must prohibit harassment of employees, applicants, unpaid interns, independent contractors and volunteers. They must also take reasonable steps to prevent harassment. Employers must provide information on what sexual harassment is, the legal ramifications of sexual harassment and what employees can do to respond to it. Employers with 50 or more employees must provide their supervisors with sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training.

Employees have one year from the last act of workplace discrimination or harassment to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. If an employee prevails on their discrimination complaint, they may be entitled to remedies including hiring, reinstatement, back pay, front pay, promotion and more.

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