There are federal laws in place to protect employees from workplace discrimination. Each state also has its own laws that further enhance or reiterate the federal laws in their own jurisdictions. A discrimination lawyer in Los Angeles can explain the particulars of the laws in California and nationally. What’s important to understand is that your employer cannot treat you differently or unfairly based on your race, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, or other personal attributes. It is illegal for an employer to encourage or allow unfair treatment in the workplace, and they have an obligation to stop the harassment once they become aware of it. If you’ve been the victim of discrimination in the workplace, your first step of recourse is to follow the guidelines in your employee handbook. Your company likely has a protocol to follow which might include filing a claim with HR. This does not mean that you cannot contact a lawyer or file a legal claim. In California, the Department of Industrial Relations and the EEOC can help you file your claim against a current or former employer. You are never precluded from protecting your legal rights. A lawyer can help you navigate the situation with great clarity and represent you to obtain the monetary compensation you may be entitled to.
TYPES OF WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION
California has some of the most comprehensive state laws to protect workers from discrimination. In the broadest sense, discrimination is considered unfair treatment based on your gender, nationality, and other personal characteristics. Overall, some basic types of discrimination include:
- Racial and ethnic discrimination
- Racial harassment
- Disability discrimination
- Age discrimination
- Gender discrimination
- Pregnancy discrimination
- Sexual harassment
Discrimination at work might be perpetrated as part of the corporate culture, but often it’s the direct action of an employee or set of employees. The employer is still responsible for those employees’ actions and has an obligation to end the discriminatory behavior as soon as they are made aware of it. What types of discrimination or harassment are you protected from in California? Some of the most common claims include discrimination based on race, color, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, religion, disability and medical conditions, age, and citizenship status. In California, you’re also protected against discrimination based on your marital status, pregnancy status, HIV/AIDS status, and your status as the victim of a violent crime.
DO I HAVE A DISCRIMINATION CLAIM?
Discrimination can happen at any time, but it can be difficult to determine whether you were truly discriminated against or if you have a legal claim. This is why it’s helpful to discuss your situation with a discrimination attorney in Los Angeles. They can offer an unbiased look at your case and help you determine if it is discrimination and what you need in order to prove that it is discrimination. The laws about discrimination are written to provide protection to those under a protected class. Discrimination often falls under three different categories: discriminatory intent, disparate impact, and retaliation.
- Discriminatory Intent. This means that you are treated differently or unfairly based on your status as a person in a protected class. In other words, someone or many people at work are harassing you or mistreating you intentionally based on your race, creed, color, nationality, religion, disability, or any other characteristic that is protected under the law.
- Disparate Impact. This type of discrimination is often unintentional, but it still needs to be remedied. These are often job requirements or regulations that unintentionally make it more difficult for set groups to succeed in the position. For instance, it may limit accessibility for those with a disability.
- Retaliation. If you’ve filed a claim with the company or legally, employees cannot harass you or treat you differently based on that complaint. This protects workers so that they cannot be coerced into not filing suit or protecting their rights.
WHAT IS SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION?
Sexual orientation discrimination is harassment or discrimination based on your sexual orientation or the other party’s perception of your orientation. Many people are unaware, but you can also be the victim of sexual orientation based on perception. This happens when others in your company believe you may be gay, bisexual, lesbian, or transgender based on their perception or on whom you associate with. Perception-based sexual orientation discrimination carries the same negative impact for the victim which is why you are protected from this type of harassment. This can happen as commonly as standard discrimination based on your own sexual orientation because the laws also protect you from needing to discuss your sexual orientation. Your employer is not allowed to ask, nor should they ask about your personal life. It’s a preference whether you wish to share that information at work or not. There are different types of sexual orientation discrimination. Direct discrimination might include not hiring someone based on their sexual orientation or not promoting someone based on those criteria rather than performance. Harassment can be direct or indirect. This includes any actions at work that make the victim feel attacked, belittled, or embarrassed and can compromise their quality of life at work. Often harassment is very clear, targeted, and easy to identify. Sometimes it can be more insidious because it’s masked as a joke or is something that someone who is not well-educated on diversity says without realizing the implications. This is why training can be so important.
DO YOU NEED A DISCRIMINATION LAWYER IN LOS ANGELES?
If you need a discrimination attorney in Los Angeles, contact us today. We can discuss your case, help you navigate the legal and work system, and get you any compensation you might be entitled to based on your situation.