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What is Employment Discrimination in California’s Law

Workplace discrimination occurs in various forms and often goes unnoticed. Discrimination occurs when an employer, coworker, or partner treats someone differently than others based on their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. 

This applies to employees, applicants, interns, independent contractors, or volunteers. Additionally, discrimination is often found in biased hiring practices, unequal compensation, and creating a hostile work environment following a whistleblower. 

It’s essential to recognize that discrimination is not just about race, religion, age, or sex but also includes gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability status. Awareness of what constitutes discrimination is the first step towards creating safer, fairer workplaces in California. Like most states, California has specific employment discrimination laws in place to protect workers from discrimination in the workplace.

The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) stands as a beacon of protection for California employees against workplace discrimination. 

This impactful legislation strictly forbids discrimination and harassment due to race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, mental and physical disability, medical condition, age, pregnancy, denial of medical and family care leave, and pregnancy disability leave. 

It’s more than a law; it’s a shield that ensures workplaces across the state respect and uphold the dignity and rights of all employees.

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Signs You Are Being Discriminated in the Workplace

Discrimination comes in various shapes and forms. Often it is hard to spot whether you are being discriminated against or not. However, if you feel like the decisions and actions of your employer just don’t add up with your work ethic and performance on the job, you should pursue a free case evaluation to help determine if you are being discriminated against.

Here are some common examples of discrimination in the workplace.

Lack of Diversity

A lack of diversity in the workplace by nature leads to discriminatory behavior in the workplace. Employees with different backgrounds, particularly minorities, often feel isolated or singled out in the workplace when there is a lack of diversity.

When there is an underrepresented group within the workplace, this group tends to feel isolated, vulnerable, and sometimes even unsafe at work.

Gender Bias

When a boss or employer favors one gender over the other, this is gender bias. This could include offering a specific gender better shifts, more work hours, higher pay, or nominating them for promotions more frequently.

Gender bias often favors men over women and, in some cases, can favor women over men.

Missed Promotions or Special Assignments

In many cases, being passed over for a promotion or special assignment may be an act of discrimination. If you feel you have been passed over on promotions, special project assignments, and more based on your race, gender, or age, this may be discrimination.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) deems it illegal for employers to base promotions or assignments on personal preference, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., rather than on work performance and the qualifications for the role.

Wrongful Discipline

Disciplinary actions in the workplace must be fair and appropriate for the infraction. Wrongful discipline occurs when an employee is disciplined for an infraction that did not occur or the disciplinary action taken was excessive for the infraction that occurred. 

Additionally, if multiple employees were involved with a workplace infraction, and the disciplinary action was heavier for one employee or one group of employees, this may be discrimination. 

Disciplinary actions within the workplace should be the same across the board based on the level of infraction and the reprimand statuses of the employees involved.

How California Discrimination Employment Lawyers Can Help

Discrimination in the workplace often feels isolating and confusing. California discrimination employment lawyers can be a lifeline in such times. These legal experts, versed in FEHA and DFEH, can illuminate the path ahead, advising you on filing complaints and collecting necessary evidence.

They’re not just lawyers; they’re advocates, standing by your side in court if required. Their expertise in this complex field can be invaluable, providing you with a voice when yours might feel drowned out.

Call (818) 253-1599 or use the contact form below to schedule your risk-free case evaluation.

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Do You Have a Discrimination Case?

Our team at Colby Law is well-versed in California employment discrimination law. With expertise in anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII and the Fair Employment Housing Act (FEHA), we pride ourselves in helping Californians attain fair and equal working conditions, regardless of their field.

If you think you are a victim of workplace discrimination, contact us today for a free case evaluation.


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Our Certifications Claim Our Extensive Expertise in Employment Law

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Colby Law Firm

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Aaron Colby is a California employment lawyer who knows how to resolve disputes. After 15 years representing companies, he started Colby Law Firm to represent employees. Aaron’s perspective and experience from being “on the other side” gives him an edge. Aaron brings his practical, focused, and relentless approach to helping employees protect their rights.

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Aaron Colby
Lead Attorney and Founder Colby Law