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Marital Status Discrimination in California

Marital Status Discrimination

Essential Information for California Employees

What Employees Need to Know

Marital status discrimination is surprisingly common and can be hard to detect. In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects employees from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation based on their marital status. In this article, we will discuss the legal protection provided to employees in California and what they need to know about their rights.

What Is Marital Status Discrimination?

In California, it is illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of marital status. Marital status discrimination occurs when an employer makes employment decisions based on an employee’s marital status.

Marital status discrimination refers to any adverse action taken against an employee based on their marital status. This includes decisions related to hiring, promotions, raises, benefits, and other employment decisions.

This type of discrimination can take many forms, such as hiring decisions, promotions, job assignments, pay scales, and more. For example, an employer may choose to hire a single person over a married person for a position, or may pay a married person less than a single person.

FEHA Definition of Marital Status

The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) defines Marital Status as an individual’s state of marriage, non-marriage, divorce or dissolution, separation, widowhood, annulment, or other marital state.

Therefore, employers cannot make decisions based on whether an employee is single, married, divorced, widowed, or separated.

Legal Protection in California Under the FEHA

Marital status discrimination is illegal in California under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). This means that employers cannot discriminate against any individual because of their marital status, whether they are married, single, remarried, divorced, separated, or widowed. Unfortunately, this type of discrimination does still occur. As an employee in California, it is important for you to know your rights and understand the ways in which you can protect yourself from discrimination.

The FEHA prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee based on their marital status. This includes treating married employees differently than single employees during any aspect of their employment. Employers are also prohibited from making employment decisions based on an employee’s family responsibilities and/or relationships, such as hiring decisions based on whether an employee is married or unmarried.

Can an employer ask if I am married during a job interview?

No. An employer cannot ask you about your marital status during a job interview or while you are in the hiring process. This includes questions such as whether you are married, planning to get married, or your partner’s name. An employer cannot also ask if you have children or any other questions related to your family.

When interviewing for a job in California, employers are not allowed to inquire about certain characteristics such as race, religion, and marital status. However, these conditions may be asked for if there is a valid job-related reason and it is considered a bona fide occupational qualification. Keep in mind that both verbal questions and application forms must comply with this policy.

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants based on the protected class groups.

In addition, employers cannot ask job applicants to provide any information related to their family life, such as their number of children or their spouse’s name. Asking these questions could be seen as a form of discrimination, and could open up the employer to a potential lawsuit.

However, an employer can ask about an applicant’s availability for work and can also ask if an applicant has any scheduling conflicts due to family obligations. An employer can also ask if an applicant will require any flexible work arrangements to accommodate family obligations, but the employer cannot ask questions that would reveal the applicant’s marital status.

Ultimately, it’s important for California employees to know their rights during a job interview and to be aware that employers cannot ask questions related to their marital status. If a potential employer does ask these types of questions, it’s important to speak up and remind them that such questions are not legally allowed.

How do I know if I was Discriminated against Because of my Marital Status?

If you feel that you were discriminated against because of your marital status, there are a few signs to look out for. For example, an employer may ask questions about your marital status that are not relevant to the job or request information that is not necessary for the position. Additionally, if you are not considered for a job that you are qualified for, this can be a sign of marital status discrimination.

Marital status discrimination is illegal in California, and it is important for employees to understand their rights and take action if they feel they have been discriminated against. By knowing your rights and the resources available to you, you can protect yourself and take action if needed.

Examples of Marital Status Discrimination

You should be wary of any potential signs of discrimination based on marital status. For instance, if you experience a sudden and negative change in your performance reviews after disclosing your engagement, this could be a sign that something is amiss. Additionally, if an employer is consistently asking unmarried employees to work during the holidays while allowing married employees with families to take off, this would also be a form of discrimination and is not acceptable.
Another example is denying an unmarried employee benefits that are available to married employees. If an employer offers a health insurance plan that only covers spouses and children but is not available to unmarried employees.
Your employer cannot treat you differently based on your marital status.

Other examples of marital status discrimination include:

• Treating married employees more favorably in terms of bonuses or salary increases than unmarried employees.
• Not allowing unmarried employees to participate in certain activities because of their marital status.
• Refusing to hire a married applicant based on their marital status.
• Assigning overtime hours to unmarried employees more often than married employees.
• Making comments that are negative or derogatory based on an employee’s marital status – Harassment –

What should I do if I am being Discriminated against because of my Marital Status?

Seeking Legal Help

Marital status discrimination is illegal in California and employees should know their rights when it comes to fair treatment in the workplace. Employees can protect their rights by familiarizing themselves with the FEHA and other state laws and by seeking the advice of an experienced employment lawyer if they believe they have been discriminated against based on their marital status.

If an employee believes they are being treated unfairly due to their marital status, they should document the instances and keep records of any potential evidence. They should also be sure to keep any relevant emails, letters, or other documents in case they need to present them as evidence in the future.

Moreover, marital status discrimination can take many forms, and an attorney can help you determine if the employer has violated the law and advise you on the best course of action.

It is important to speak with an experienced discrimination attorney as soon as possible to discuss your situation and explore your legal options. A lawyer can help you determine the best way to proceed and ensure your rights are protected.

Cielo & Dei Voluntas Law Firm * About Us *

We understand that every case is unique, and we take the time to thoroughly review the facts and develop a tailored strategy to ensure the best possible outcome for our clients. We are committed to a high standard of legal excellence and strive to provide the highest level of client service. 

Our lawyers are dedicated to providing personalized and attentive service to help our clients understand their legal rights. We are passionate about advocating for our clients and helping them to achieve the best possible outcome. 

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