• JC Serrano

Find a Labor Law Attorney for Workplace Discrimination

Updated: Jun 5

Discrimination at work according to California Employment Law

According to a study of hospital workers published in the journal Race and Social Problems, being a victim of unlawful workplace discrimination based on race or ethnicity may harm mental health, causing depression or lowering self-esteem. Unlawful sex discrimination in the workplace is linked to the risk of using drugs as a coping mechanism.

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Much of the research about how prejudice (the unfair treatment of individuals based on immutable attributes such as ethnicity, gender, or disability, or significant life choices such as religion) harms individual victims and society as a whole are publicly accessible. Both federal and California laws make it unlawful to discriminate in the workplace based on essential attributes and include legal recourse for redress.

Discrimination in the workplace is prohibited on the following grounds, for example:

If the employee is otherwise eligible for the work, an employer may be required to make appropriate accommodations for a protected characteristic. For example, a workstation may be modified to accommodate a person with a physical impairment or a person whose religious expression requires such dress or grooming practices to be permitted even though it is otherwise prohibited.

According to anti-discrimination law, an employer may not retaliate against an employee who has registered or filed a case for discrimination or harassment or who has cooperated in a related investigation or litigation. Negative actions such as dismissal, assault, or demotion are examples of retaliation.

Although federal anti-discrimination laws extend to private employers with at least 15 workers, California anti-discrimination laws apply to even smaller private employers with five or more employees, and in cases of harassment, even one employee.

Since employment discrimination is such a complicated area of the law, a claimant can speak with an experienced Employment Attorney as soon as possible. This is so they can get guidance on how to communicate with the employer and to learn about their legal rights and remedies. This counsel may include filing a federal or state government complaint or filing a lawsuit. Another difficult element of anti-discrimination legislation is the relationship between federal and state governments, courts, and regulations, which necessitates following strict protocols, such as meeting deadlines and issuing notices.

Unlawful Discrimination Comes in a Variety of Forms:

Many aspects of one's personality are legally shielded. These are some of the most common types of claims handled by Los Angeles employment lawyers, although they are not exhaustive:

1. Disability Discrimination

Discriminating against a worker because of a physical or mental disability is illegal. Short-term and long-term disabilities are also possible. Employers are required to offer appropriate accommodations to disabled workers and participate in good faith negotiations with them to decide what accommodations are required.

Staff with physical and mental disabilities are well-protected under California law. Both long-term and short-term disabilities are covered by these protections. Employers who discriminate against workers who are disabled or have a history of disability are breaking the law. Employers must also provide fair work accommodations to workers with disabilities to assist them in performing their employment.

Discrimination against disabled people can take many forms, with the following being some of the most common:

  • Disabled employees are terminated or demoted because of their disability

  • Forcing disabled employees to resign because of their disability

  • Requiring disabled employees to perform duties or assume roles that are in violation of their medical limitations

  • Refusing to give disabled employees time off to seek medical attention

  • Refusing to treat disabled staff in a humane way. Allowing disabled workers to change their work schedules or hours, changing disabled workers' job duties, and supplying disabled workers with special equipment or aids are all examples of reasonable accommodations.

  • Disabled employees who seek accommodations are being retaliated against.

  • Because of their disability, employers are refusing to hire eligible work applicants(s)

California law has recently been extended to include rights to non-disabled workers who need an accommodation to care for a disabled family member, in some cases.

What Conditions Are Considered "Disabilities"?

Disability is described in California's Fair Employment and Housing Act as any physical or mental disorder that restricts one or more major life activities/tasks. Unlike the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act, California law does not require a "substantial" restriction on major life activities, which should make it much easier to register as disabled in California than in most other states.

Basic physical, emotional, and social habits such as walking, standing, bending, raising, performing other manual tasks, seeing, listening, communicating, reading, studying, and focusing are all considered "major life activities."

The following are some of the most common conditions that are classified as disabilities:

  • Broken bones, broken tendons, and back injuries are all common injuries.

  • Cancer, heart diseases, and diabetes.

  • Extreme migraine headaches, epilepsy, and nervous system disturbances are examples of neurological impairments.

  • Mental or psychiatric disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or clinical depression

  • Disabilities in vision, voice, and hearing

  • Some allergic reactions and respiratory problems, such as asthma, are unavoidable.

  • Crohn's disease and other gastrointestinal disorders

  • Disorders of the blood

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and muscular dystrophy

An employee may be deemed disabled in such situations if he or she has a previous history of these conditions (even if he or she has recovered) or if his or her employer believes the person is disabled (even if this is incorrect).

What Are the Employer's Responsibilities When They Have Disabled Employees?

The law requires employers to make fair exceptions for the staff or work applicants who have recognized disabilities. It is unlawful for an employer to refuse to offer fair accommodations to an employee who is still capable of performing his job but requires them and then fire or threaten the employee for failing to perform.

The required fair accommodation is assessed on a case-by-case basis and is based on the type of impairment at hand as well as the type of work done by the employee.

The following is a partial list of alternative accommodations:

  • Employment reorganization or changes in job responsibilities

  • Providing flexible job schedules

  • Reassignment to an open job position

  • Allowing an employee to take a leave of absence for required medical attention or to recover

  • Purchase or modification of equipment or tools to assist an employee in performing his or her duties

  • Providing services that are open to and usable by people with disabilities

  • Exams, instructional materials, and procedures are being changed or updated.

  • Assisting in the execution of work duties that are impaired by the impairment

The Interactive Process

When an employer learns of a need for accommodation, it must engage in a "good faith interactive process" with the employee to negotiate options.

The employee and the boss are expected to have a conversation about the problems that are bothering him or her and any appropriate accommodations that could be made to remedy those issues. The employer must study and consider the employee's limitations, compare them to the employee's job or other available employment, and figure out how to work around them. An employer who either does not participate in the interactive process or participates in an inadequate process can be found in violation of the law.

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2. Discrimination based on age

Employers who discriminate against employees based on their age are breaking the law. Employees over the age of 40 are shielded from prejudice or being forced out of work because of their age.

Although age discrimination can take several forms, it most commonly involves workers in their forties and fifties being:

  • As a result of their age, they have been shot, laid off, and forced to resign.

  • Because of their age, they are passed over for promotions.

  • Due to their age, they can be demoted, have their pay decreased, or have their hours reduced.

  • Due to their age, they were offered lower wages, benefits, and/or work assignments.

  • Because of their age, they are unable to obtain employment.

  • Employer policies or activities that discriminate against them on the basis of their age

Jobs who are dismissed or mistreated by a younger boss account for the vast majority of age discrimination cases. However, this does not have to be the case, as sexist business managers and administrators may be the same age as or even older than their victims.

Causes and Statistics of Age Discrimination

People are living and working longer than ever before, and one out of every five jobs in the United States is now 55 or older. Unfortunately, this pattern has only exacerbated workplace ageism. Employers are typically motivated by prejudices or greed, rather than an actual hatred of older workers, such as a false perception that older employees will make the company seem less cutting edge, may not stay with the company long term or may need more medical expenses.