Sometimes, certain employees are treated differently than others. While employers have the option to give certain employees better hours or more pay, they cannot base employment decisions on certain discriminatory reasons. When they do, any affected employee can file a complaint for employment discrimination.
If you believe that you were unlawfully discriminated against at work, you should not wait to discuss what happened with an Orange County employment law attorney. Speak with our legal team for an evaluation of your legal rights and options.
Reasons for Unlawful Discrimination
The law prohibits employers from making employment decisions due to certain characteristics of an applicant or employee. Protected characteristics include:
- Sexual orientation
- Gender expression or identity
- National origin
- Age (for employees older than 40)
- Marital status
- Military status
- Genetic information
These protected characteristics cannot be the basis for any type of employment action, and when they are, the company should be held accountable for unlawful discrimination.
Forms of Discriminatory Conduct
Even if you are a member of a protected class, you might not know whether or not an employment action was discriminatory. The reality is that discrimination can take many forms, and no two cases are exactly alike. Some examples of discriminatory conduct when it is based on protected characteristics include:
- Refusing to hire someone
- Inquiring about protected characteristics on job applications or in interviews
- Giving someone less desirable assignments or refusing to let them work in consumer-facing positions
- Paying someone less for similar work to higher-paid employees
- Refusing to promote or increase pay for a qualified employee
- Demotion or reducing pay
- Harassment based on protected factors
- Having policies in place that result in unfair treatment of a protected class
Because there are many forms of discrimination, you always want to have a legal professional advise you whether or not your situation qualifies as unlawful workplace discrimination. We can review what happened and advise you whether you have a potential claim or not.
Denying Reasonable Accommodations
The law includes protections that allow people to work when they have disabilities or religious beliefs that might interfere with their regular job duties. Such employees can request reasonable accommodations that allow them to work while accommodating their disability or religious practice needs.
For example, if an employer has a policy that prohibits headwear, an employee who wears headwear as part of their religious beliefs can request an exception from the policy. If someone has a disability that requires them to use a wheelchair, they might request an adaptive desk and accessible work areas.
If an employer cannot show that an accommodation would result in undue hardship, the company must grant the accommodation. When they do not, the employer can be liable for workplace discrimination.
Another important aspect of anti-discrimination laws is the protection of employees against unlawful retaliation when complaining of discrimination. The law gives you the right to raise concerns about potentially discriminatory conduct on the part of your employer, and your employer is prohibited from taking adverse action against you as a result.
While many retaliation cases involve termination of employment, there are many other ways an employer can retaliate against you after you complain of discrimination. These can include:
- Discipline or suspension of employment
- Unwarranted poor performance reviews
- Undesirable transfers or assignments
- Refusal of raises or promotions that you deserve
If you believe that you suffered retaliation because you brought up possible discrimination, contact an Orange County workplace discrimination attorney right away.
What to Do if You Suspect Discrimination
If you believe that you were the victim of unlawful discrimination, you should first report the matter to your employer if you feel comfortable doing so. Your employer should take steps to rectify the situation and, if they do not, you will need to consult with an employment lawyer as soon as possible.
We can advise you whether you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). In some situations, the best course of action is to file a civil lawsuit against your employer, seeking legal relief from the harm you endured.
Speak with Our Orange County Workplace Discrimination Lawyers Today
A discrimination claim can allow you to seek damages for lost income and emotional trauma due to discriminatory conduct, as well as possible changes to your employer’s policies to prevent future discrimination. If you would like more information about a possible claim, reach out to our Orange County workplace discrimination attorneys directly.
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