Know Your Rights and How to Defend Them
Employees in California have rights under California and federal law allowing them to do their jobs without being unfairly discriminated against by their employers. The California Fair Housing & Employment Act provides California employees with some of the most powerful worker protections in the country, and its provisions work in tandem with federal employee protections to hold employers accountable for unfairly discriminating against employees based on one or more of the following factors, which are referred to as “protected classes” under the law:
- Age, for those employees 40 and above
- Mental or physical disability, including HIV and AIDS
- Genetic information
- Gender, gender identity, and gender expression
- Marital status (whether single, married, or divorced)
- Medical conditions (including genetic and/or family history predispositions towards a medical condition)
- National origin (including certain uses of language)
- Religion (including religious‐influenced practices such as wardrobe and grooming)
- Sex (including pregnancy‐related issues, e.g., breastfeeding)
- Sexual orientation
Notably, there is no requirement that the affected employee actually exhibit any of the above factors, only that the discrimination was the result of the employer perceiving one or more of those factors to be the case.
For a California employee to prove an employment discrimination claim against an employer, there is a three‐step process:
- The employee must show that he or she is a member of one of the classes listed above, or, again, was at least perceived to be a member;
- The employee must have been subject to an adverse employment action (there is no precise definition for what this includes, but it can include being terminated, demoted, passed over for a promotion, excluded from a training program, paid at a lower rate than other employees, and so on);
- The employee's status as an actual or perceived member of a protected class was a motivating reason for the employer's adverse action against the employee.
Putting that into practice, an employee may feel she was wrongfully discriminated because of her pregnancy, and therefore wants to pursue a pregnancy discrimination claim. In such an action, she would show that she was pregnant and that her employer was aware of this, and that her employer subjected her to an adverse employment action based on her pregnancy, which could include demoting her based on her pregnancy while failing to provide reasonable accommodations for her work requested on the advice of her healthcare provider.
In trying to prove an employment discrimination claim, it can be challenging to collect evidence, and an employer may do everything in its power to try to argue that there was a non‐discriminatory reason for the adverse employment action that an employee endured. This is where working with an experienced employment discrimination attorney can become critical to a plaintiff's success.
Pasadena employment discrimination attorney Brian Vogel has practiced civil litigation for 27 years, spending the last 8 years focused primarily on representing employees in actions against employers who have violated those employees' rights under the law. He knows the strategies that employers try to use to get employees to walk away or settle for less than their claims are worth. He will work with you to try to obtain maximum compensation for your employee discrimination claim.
Being the subject of unfair discrimination on the job can leave an employee feeling distressed and powerless, but it doesn't have to be that way. It is illegal for employers to unfairly discriminate against employees in violation of state or federal law, and, when they do, Brian Vogel works hard to hold them accountable. If you or someone you love has been the victim of employee discrimination by an employer in California, contact Pasadena employee discrimination attorney Brian Vogel, who will fight to protect your rights under state and federal employment law and get the compensation you are rightly owed. For a free consultation, call (626) 796‐7470.