Can I Fight Back Against Employment Discrimination?
We need income to provide shelter, food, clothing and other basic necessities for ourselves and our families.
As an employee, it may feel like your future is in your boss’s hands, but there are state and federal laws that protect your rights.
Your employer cannot treat you differently based simply on the color of your skin or whether you use the men’s or women’s restroom; employers cannot refuse to hire you based on your race, gender, age or several other factors.
Free consultation: If you believe you have encountered discrimination in the workplace, either as an employee or as a job applicant, call the Pasadena, California, law firm of Bononi Law Group, LLP, at 213-550-5503.
Recognizing Illegal Workplace Harassment And Discrimination
California is an at-will employment state, meaning your employer can fire you for any or no reason at all. However, an employer cannot fire an employee for discriminatory reasons. Several protections guaranteed by California law and federal law govern when an employer can be held responsible for harassment, discrimination, retaliation or wrongful termination.
You may have a lawsuit against your employer if you have experienced discrimination because of your:
- Gender, including how you express your gender and your gender identity
- Sexual orientation, whether you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender
- Disability, whether an actual disability, an impairment that you have experienced in the past or a perceived disability by your employer
- Medical condition
- Pregnancy, including requesting time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- National origin
- Religion, including requiring uniforms that don’t recognize religious dress requirements or allow you to practice your religion on required days or at certain times
- Medical condition
- Military service, such as violations of the protections guaranteed by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- Association with a disabled co-worker or disabled family member
Those who work in the service industry such as servers, retail workers, housekeepers and others unfortunately are often targets for illegal employment discrimination or harassment.
If you work in the service industry, remember that you have the same right as anyone else to be free from discrimination or harassment based on your gender, race, sexual orientation, age, religion or any other factor listed above. If you have experienced harassment or discrimination at work, you also have the right to seek a legal remedy.
Sexual Harassment In The California Workplace
Sexual harassment in California workplaces is strictly prohibited by both state and federal law. In 2011 alone, however, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received more than 11,000 complaints of sexual harassment by a supervisor or colleague.
The bottom line is that workers continue to be illegally harassed and made to feel uncomfortable or are forced to quit because of sexual comments, inappropriate touching and requests for sexual contact that have no place in the work environment. If you have experienced sexual harassment at work, contact our firm to discuss your legal options.
Preventing And Addressing Workplace Harassment
Often, an employment dispute that involves harassment or discrimination is resolved with a requirement that the employer provide additional training to employees about their right to work free from discrimination and harassment, training for supervisors in what is acceptable workplace conduct and a reporting system to address any future complaints.
Our law firm can work with your company’s human resources department to train managers and other employees in the recognition and prevention of workplace harassment before a lawsuit is filed or after a settlement has been reached.
Information About Employment Discrimination
Q. Where can I find more information about employment discrimination?
A. Both federal and state agencies maintain websites that provide information about employment discrimination:
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency responsible for enforcing employment discrimination laws.
- The Employment Development Department of the State of California provides information about State Disability Insurance.
- The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provides information about job seeking, employment and retirement.
- The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is the largest state civil rights agency in the United States.
The laws and agencies described above have created one of the strongest networks of employee protection in the world. However, employers continue to discriminate against employees illegally. Employees who believe they have experienced discrimination in the workplace or while seeking a job should contact an employment attorney to learn about their rights and options.
Free Consultation: Call Our Southern California Employment Law Firm
If you have been a victim of harassment and discrimination at work, you have rights. Your employer must take steps to provide a safe working environment, including measures to prevent discriminatory practices and harassing behavior.