Did Your Employer Violate Any Of These Employment Discrimination Laws?
Work plays a huge role in many Americans lives. Although it has been illegal to engage in employment discrimination for over 50 years, many employers still continue to discriminate against applicants and employees. Victims often pay the price in lost jobs, lower wages, poor treatment, and lack of career advancement.
What Is Employment Discrimination?
Employment discrimination is the unfair treatment of an employee or prospective employee based on a class or
category that the person is a member of. Both federal and California laws prohibit discrimination, and it is illegal for employers to discriminate based on factors such as race, skin color, gender, national origin, age, religion, or disability.
An employer can discriminate in many ways, and the discrimination does not even have to be intentional to be illegal. It can involve hiring, firing, promotions, wages, fringe benefits, and employee treatment. Two general types of discrimination include:
- Disparate treatment. This occurs when an employer singles out a person or a group of people for unequal treatment for an illegal reason, such as refusing to promote a person because of his race or pressuring an employee to engage in a sexual act to keep his job.
- Disparate impact. This involves an employer’s policy or practice that may not single out a person or group, but has the effect of discriminating against them. For example, having a lifting requirement for a job that does not need one to secretly exclude women would be an illegal policy.
Read more about the difference between disparate treatment and disparate impact in discrimination cases.
Types of Discrimination Prohibited by Federal Law
One of the main federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal to discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, or natural origin. Since that law was passed, other federal legislation has also been enacted to protect against other kinds of unfair treatment. The following discriminatory practices are prohibited under federal law:
- Age discrimination. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), employers are prohibited from discriminating against people who are 40 years old or older in any aspect of employment, including harassing them by making offensive comments about their age.
- Disability. The Americans With Disability Act (ADA) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and applicants due to a disability they have. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for the disability—such as providing wheelchair access or a reader for a blind person—unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or cost for the employer.
- Equal pay. Both Title VII and the Equal Pay Act requires women and men to receive the equal pay for equal work, and includes wages, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, and much more. Unfortunately, women can often find large differences between their wages and those of male co-workers.
- Genetic information. Under Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), it is illegal to discriminate against someone due to his genetic information.
- Harassment. Harassment is prohibited under Title VII, the ADA, and the ADEA and can include jokes, intimidation, and threats. The offensive action must be a condition of continued employment and be severe enough that a reasonable person would find it intimidating, hostile, or abusive.
- National origin. It is illegal to treat an applicant or employee differently because he is from a particular country or part of the world, is of a particular ethnicity or accent, or appears to be of a certain ethnic background—even if he is not.
- Pregnancy discrimination. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits an employer from treating a woman differently due to her pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition caused by her pregnancy.
- Race or color. Title VII prohibits discriminating against someone because he is of a particular race or has certain characteristics associated with his race. This includes hair texture, skin color, or facial features.
- Religious discrimination. Title VII makes it illegal to discriminate against someone because of his religion, whether it is a traditional organized religion—like Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, or Islam—or sincerely held religious, ethical, or moral beliefs.
- Retaliation. The federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination also make it illegal to retaliate against an employee in any way because he complained of discrimination to his employer or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. Retaliation can involve promotion, wages, termination, harassment, or demotion.
- Sex or gender discrimination. Title VII makes it illegal to treat a person differently because of her gender or sex, and it is also illegal to discriminate based on a person’s transgender status, or sexual orientation.
- Sexual harassment. Under Title VII, employers are prohibited from engaging in sexual harassment. This can include unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual acts, verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature, and offensive remarks about the person’s sex.
California’s Anti-Discrimination Law Gives You Even More Protections
California has one of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the country and provides more protections than federal laws. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is the major state law protecting workers and prohibits harassment or discrimination in employment due to the following:
- Age – 40 years old or older
- Color and race
- Religious beliefs
- Failure to provide family and medical care leave
- Disability – Both mental and physical
- Marital status
- Medical condition such as cancer or genetic characteristics
- Genetic information
- Military and veteran status
- National origin, including language restrictions
- Sex – Including pregnancy-related conditions and issues
- Gender, gender identity, and expression
- Sexual orientation
Call Our Orange County Office Today
Employment discrimination is a complex area of the law with many statutes and deadlines that victims must meet. If you believe you were discriminated against at work, you need an experienced attorney who understands the laws that may have been violated, the steps you need to take, and the time limits to do so. Call the Law Offices of Corbett H. Williams today at 949-679-9909 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.