Updated: Dec 19, 2022
California Employment Law On Unfair Treatment In The Workplace
"Unfair treatment" in the workplace is often called discrimination. California workplace discrimination laws protect employees from employment-related unfair treatment and allow them to hold their employers responsible for violating their labor rights.
If you experience discrimination at work, you can file a lawsuit against your employer for unfair treatment. That said, since discrimination cases are legal claims, there are specific requirements you need to fulfill to file a lawsuit successfully.
And yes, you can't sue your boss just because you don't like them or you had an argument at work.
There are specific types of workplace discrimination that are considered illegal in California. If your case is regarded as one of those types, you can file a lawsuit against your employer for unfair treatment.
So, let's look at some examples of workplace discrimination and how to handle unfair treatment at a California workplace.
Examples Of Unfair Treatment At Work In California
The most common form of unfair treatment in California is discrimination against employees because of their protected characteristics. This includes the following:
This means your boss cannot fire, demote, or cut your salary, etc., based on belonging to one of these protected characteristics. So, for example, if you're a disabled employee fired because your employer found out about your employment status, you'll have the right to file a wrongful termination claim based on discrimination in California.
If you're unsure whether your case falls under discrimination, consider consulting a prescreened workplace discrimination lawyer in Los Angeles.
How Unfair Treatment In The Workplace Is Handled In California Employment Law?
While every case is unique, several factors apply to almost all California discrimination claims. These are the factors you and your Los Angeles discrimination lawyer need to consider:
You must demonstrate that you were subjected to an adverse employment action, such as a demotion, termination, or refusal to hire, because you belong to a protected class.
A discrimination claim cannot be made based on belonging to a protected class and experiencing unfavorable treatment. It does not automatically imply that the basis for your firing was that characteristic, not another fair or unfair reason.
In a discrimination action, the onus of proof is with the complainant. This implies that the employer need not provide evidence that you were the victim of discrimination. However, your responsibility is to substantiate that discrimination, and not some other factor, was the cause of your promotion or dismissal.
The existence of discrimination cannot be established by a false termination reason alone. Although it can be used to support a claim of discrimination when combined with other evidence, lying is not the same as discrimination, as the courts have often emphasized.
The treatment of other workers in the same protected class may be relevant. Still, this will not be enough proof of discrimination unless you can demonstrate a clear pattern, such as when numerous workers in the same class are replaced by other workers.
You and your Los Angeles discrimination lawyer must also file the proper paperwork, gather evidence, find eyewitnesses, and attend negotiations. Sometimes, employers will go for an out-of-court settlement instead of letting things go to a judge.
Proving Lawsuit Against Employer for Unfair Treatment In California
In light of those mentioned above, you must have proof of an employer's discriminatory treatment of you if you consider filing a discrimination claim against them. Even if things don't escalate to the courtroom, you still need to present a solid case to compel your employer into an out-of-court settlement in California.
Evidence for such can take the form of:
Documents such as paperwork, emails, social media posts, or any other records in which a decision-maker in the company (i.e., your boss, supervisor, manager, etc.) explicitly states that they are seeking to replace you or don't want you for discriminatory reasons.
Witness statements from those who overheard decision-makers mention at least one account that would imply that discrimination had a role in their decision to let you go. Asking your coworkers (or former coworkers) if they have access to such information is worthwhile. Even one document or one witness can support a claim.
Remember, if your coworkers become witnesses in support of you, they are protected by California retaliation laws. This law makes it illegal for employers and company decision-makers to punish or try to get back at an employee for exercising a protected activity. In our case, the protected activity is becoming a witness and participate in investigations that involve your employer.
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