Other Types of Workplace Discrimination in California

The prevalence of workplace discrimination is much more rampant than we realize. In a 2019 report by Glassdoor, about 61% of American employees have experienced or witnessed discrimination due to sexual orientation, age, race, and gender. In recent years, despite the move to working remotely, many employees still face workplace discrimination.

However, if you feel you have been discriminated against in your workplace, there is something you can do about it. California laws have been put into place to make workplace discrimination illegal.

If you or a loved one have been discriminated against in the workplace, you may be eligible to file a claim against your employer. Contact the California Institute of Fair Employment today and find out how we can help you!

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What is Workplace Discrimination?

What is discrimination in the workplace in the state of California? The unjust treatment of individuals or groups due to their particular characteristics is known as discrimination in the workplace. These characteristics include ethnicity, gender identity, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and more.

The effects of workplace discrimination can be devastating, with victims often feeling an intense amount of stress and anxiety that subsequently leads to a decrease in job performance. These individuals may struggle to focus on their tasks at hand, making it difficult for them to succeed professionally.

In addition, climbing the corporate ladder or achieving promotions can be difficult if you are facing workplace bias.

Types of Workplace Discrimination

Even though workplace discrimination is considered illegal, this does not hinder it from happening. In fact, workplace discrimination may happen more often than one realizes.

Individuals who have suffered workplace discrimination are not evaluated on their ability and qualifications, but instead on characteristics that are out of their control.

The following are some of the most common discrimination types:

Age Discrimination

Age-based discrimination is the unjust treatment of an applicant or employee due to their age. An example of this may be if your employer informs you that your job is being eliminated but instead hires a younger employee to work the same job – only with a different title.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was put into place to safeguard individuals over the age of 40 from any form of workplace discrimination due to their age. The law strictly prohibits any discrimination against individuals of a particular age concerning their employment terms, conditions, and privileges.

It is illegal to harass an individual due to their age. This harassment may include offensive, derogatory remarks regarding a person’s age, for example.

Disability Discrimination

Disability discrimination is the act of treating an individual differently in their place of work due to their disability status, perceived disability, or their association with a disabled person. Regardless of whether someone’s disability is apparent or hidden, any form of discriminatory behavior towards that individual – such as denying certain rights and privileges – could be considered illegal.

Some examples of disability discrimination may include:

  • Discriminatory harassment of an employee due to their disability
  • Questioning job applicants about pre existing or current medical conditions, as well as requiring them to undertake medical examinations.
  • Any act of discrimination against an individual based on physical or mental disability in terms of recruitment, termination, employment status, job assignments, pay scales, and benefits packages. This rule also holds true for all aspects related to hiring practices as well as layoffs, leaves, and other factors associated with employment.
  • Denying employees with physical or mental disabilities a reasonable accommodation necessary to perform their job duties.
  • Constructing or sustaining an environment of work with hindrances that significantly inhibit the mobility of people living with physical limitations.

Sex or Gender Discrimination

In the workplace, gender discrimination manifests in a variety of ways and typically involves treating an employee or job applicant unfairly due to their sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Although “sex” and “gender” have differing meanings, laws against discrimination use these terms interchangeably.

The prevalence of sex discrimination is still widespread today. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that in the two years since the #MeToo movement, there have been an increased number of sexual harassment charges. Of the number of sexual harassment charges filed in 2018-2021, about 78.2% of these were filed by women.

Examples of gender or sex discrimination may include:

  1. An employee being denied a pay raise, promotion, or training opportunity that is given to another person or people of another gender expression or sexual orientation who are less qualified or equally as qualified as you.
  2. Being insulted or called derogatory slurs or names due to one’s gender identity or hearing unkind remarks about another employee of a certain gender identity or sexual orientation.
  3. Experiencing unwanted sexual advances, requests for favors of a sexual nature, or other physical or verbal harassment that is sexual in nature.
  4. Being written up or disciplined for an act that other employees of a differing gender have done frequently but have never been punished for.
  5. Rejection from a job, forced leave or given fewer assignments due to pregnancy
  6. Receiving a lower pay grade than a person of a different gender or sexual orientation who is less qualified or similarly qualified than you, or who is assigned fewer job duties than you.
  7. Being held to a higher or different standard, being assessed more harshly due to gender identity, or failure to act or present yourself in conventional feminine or masculine ideology.
  8. Being denied a job or receiving lower pay solely due to your gender identity or sexual orientation. An example of this would be an employer refusing to hire women or only hiring women for particular jobs.
  9. Being repeatedly misgendered, such as an individual being referred to by their deadname or male transgender workers being referred to as “Miss”.

Religious Discrimination

Treating individuals differently due to their religious belief and/or their request for accommodations in relation to their religious practices is religious discrimination. Religious discrimination also includes the unfair treatment of individuals who have a lack of religious beliefs or practices.

Employers have a responsibility to guarantee that their workplace is free from any form of discrimination or harassment based on religion. Religious discrimination can take many forms. These may include religious slurs, workplace graffiti, or other verbal or physical conduct directed towards individuals of a specific religious group that causes the employee to find the work environment to be hostile or abusive.

Racial Discrimination

This form of workplace discrimination involves treating an applicant or employee negatively due to their race or certain personal characteristics associated with their race, such as hair texture, skin color, and/or facial features.

This race-based discrimination also takes place when an individual is treated differently due to the race or color of the person they are married to. Discrimination may still occur when the victim of discrimination and the perpetrator is of the same race or color.

California Law Prohibits Workplace Discrimination and Harassment

Oftentimes, workplace discrimination is purposefully done. However, there may be instances wherein certain forms of discrimination happen by accident. Whether intentional or not, workplace discrimination is considered illegal.

In California, there are several laws put in place to combat these discriminatory practices. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) guarantees employees are safeguarded against any form of discrimination, retaliation, or harassment in the workplace.

All employment rules set forth by the Fair Employment and Housing Act’s anti-discrimination provisions apply to any employer with five or more employees, whether they are full-time or part-time. Many federal anti-discrimination laws also apply under FEHA.

Under FEHA, employers are prohibited from discriminating against, retaliating, or harassing employees in the categories mentioned previously and the following protected categories:

  • National origin
  • Marital status
  • Reproductive health decision-making
  • Military or veteran status
  • Ancestry
  • Genetic information
  • Criminal background
  • And more

Furthermore, FEHA prohibits retaliation against any individual for making a complaint of discrimination under FEHA for assisting another employee in the complaint process, or for opposing any action in the workplace that would constitute a violation of FEHA.

Award-Winning Employment Lawyers Will Fight For You

If you or a loved one have experienced workplace discrimination you must hold the responsible parties accountable and file a claim. At the California Institute of Fair Employment, our experienced employment law attorneys are devoted to helping employees who have experienced workplace discrimination receive the compensation they deserve.

Our knowledgeable lawyers will take the necessary steps to help you file an individual claim against your employer for the unlawful discrimination you experienced. If other employees have also had experiences of discrimination under the same employer, your employment law attorney may also initiate a class action lawsuit if needed.

Do not hesitate to contact us for a free and confidential case consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t need to pay us a single cent unless we win your case!


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