Understanding California's FEHA Statute: Protected Classes and Workplace Discrimination
What to Do if You're a Victim
What Employees Need to Know about the Protected Classes
Are you based in California and concerned about Workplace Discrimination? Knowing the protected classes and laws in the state could help protect your job and ensure fair treatment at work.
What are the “Protected Classes” in California?
Employee's Protected Status in California: What You Need to Know
California is a state that takes employee protection seriously. Employers in the Golden State must be aware of the various laws that protect their workers from discrimination and unfair treatment. Knowing the details of these laws can help employees understand their rights and make sure they are not violated.
Protected classes or status refers to the characteristics or traits that employers are prohibited from discriminating against when making decisions about hiring, firing, and other employment decisions.
The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is a California statutory law that provides protection from employment discrimination based on certain “protected classes”.
These protected classes include:
- national origin,
- age (over 40),
- physical or mental disability,
- gender identity,
- sexual orientation,
- marital status,
- medical condition,
- genetic information,
- or military/veteran status.
What Actions Are Unlawful?
Under the FEHA, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees based on their protected status. This includes refusing to hire someone based on their protected status, paying them less than other workers, or firing them for such reasons. In addition, employers cannot create a hostile work environment for employees due to their protected status or make decisions that would negatively affect their careers due to their protected status.
What is Workplace Discrimination in California?
Under FEHA, employers and job applicants are protected from workplace discrimination. Discrimination includes any unfavorable or unduly harsh treatment due to one’s belonging to the protected class. This includes practices such as recruitment, evaluation, salary, job assignments, promotions, benefits, training, layoff, or termination.
What Should You Do If You are a Victim of Workplace Discrimination?
If you believe you have been discriminated against in your workplace, it’s important to take immediate action. It is advised to seek legal advice to get a clear understanding of your rights and to ensure that necessary evidence can be obtained. If employment discrimination is found to be valid, there are several remedies available to seek compensation.
Can You Get Fired for Filing a Discrimination Claim?
Your employer is not allowed to retaliate or fire you if they are found guilty of workplace discrimination. Filing a discrimination claim is a protected activity under California Law and if you are disciplined, demoted, or terminated without proper reasons, you may be able to recover monetary damages.
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