Employment Discrimination

California workplace discrimination law is governed principally by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Under the FEHA, an employer may not discriminate against a worker on the basis of:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Marital Status
  • Gender Identity
  • Medical Condition (Cancer & HIV/AIDS)

The discrimination laws also prohibits discrimination based on the perception that a worker has any of the above characteristics (or associates with someone who is perceived to have those characteristics).

Employment discrimination can be proved by direct evidence, such as comments reflecting stereotyping, or other behavior evidencing discriminatory motive. An example of stereotyping of a pregnant woman would be a comment by her supervisor that he believed that pregnant women are unproductive, never want to come back to work after delivering, and, even if they do, are distracted and unhappy.

Employment discrimination can also be proved by indirect evidence. For example, the employer often gives a non-discriminatory reason for a termination. Then the employee may show that the employer's stated reason for the termination was in fact not the true reason for the action, but rather was a pretext (or "smokescreen") for discrimination.

Under both Federal and State Law, it is improper to discriminate in the "terms or conditions of employment" on the basis of any of the protected classes stated above. "Terms or conditions of employment" include almost anything related to an employee's job such as: pay, title, promotions, opportunity for overtime, hours, vacations, benefits, discipline, demotions, harassment and termination.

If you believe you have been subjected to workplace discrimination because you are a member of any of the above categories, it important to seek a discrimination lawyer swiftly. Both California and federal law require that you file what is called an "administrative complaint" before you can file a discrimination lawsuit in court. The deadlines for filing administrative complaints and, if appropriate, a discrimination lawsuit, must be met or you may give up valuable rights.


Remedies for violations of the anti-discrimination laws include:

  • reinstatement;
  • back pay;
  • front pay;
  • damages for emotional distress;
  • punitive damages;
  • attorney fees; and
  • costs of litigation.

We have not only achieved significant monetary awards for employment discrimination victims, we also assist victims to keep their jobs by counseling them while still employed. If you believe you have suffered employment discrimination, it is advantageous to consult a discrimination lawyer before you are terminated.