The contemporary workplace in California is governed by local, state, and federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination. Unfortunately, workers continue to be treated unfairly based on their age, sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, and other protected characteristics. If you believe that you have been discriminated against by your employer, it takes an experienced employment lawyer to protect your rights.
The Rankin Law Firm is committed to eliminating employment discrimination in all its forms. Whether you have been fired and replaced by a younger worker, denied a promotion because of your marital status, disciplined for wearing your hair in locks, or discriminated against for another illegal reason, we can help.
When you consult with us, we will take the time to understand your circumstances, learn about your work history, and explore all your legal options. Although taking legal action against an employer can be intimidating, working with our experienced employment lawyer is the best way to stand up for your rights. Please contact our office today so we can start working on your claim.
How Federal Laws Protect California Workers Against Discrimination
At The Rankin Law Firm, we are well-versed in the federal laws that protect workers from discrimination, including:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion and which has been expanded by the U.S. Supreme Court to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Title VII only applies to employers with 15 or more employees, however.
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which bars employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating based on age (40 and over) when making any employment decision (e.g. hiring, firing, promoting).
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against workers and prospective job candidates with disabilities.
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy in any employment decision by businesses with 15 or more employees.
- The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008, which protects employees from discrimination based on their genetic information.
In short, it is illegal for employers to discriminate based on legally protected characteristics when making decisions regarding hiring, terminating, promoting, demoting, compensating, and any other terms and conditions of employment.
Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against employees for filing a complaint about discrimination or participating in a related legal proceeding. Finally, it is worth noting that sexual harassment is considered a form of unlawful discrimination under Title VII.
How The Rankin Law Firm Can Help With Your Employment Discrimination Claim
Despite the powerful legal protections under federal laws, proving employment discrimination can be difficult. Employers often disguise their discriminatory motives as legitimate business decisions and rely on powerful teams of attorneys to defeat discrimination claims.
Our legal team has the knowledge and experience to level the playing field and knows how to fight back against discrimination in the workplace. Under federal law, you must first file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before pursuing an employment discrimination lawsuit. We are highly experienced in representing clients in administrative proceedings before the EEOC and are well-prepared to litigate in the federal courts.
If your claim cannot be resolved through the EEOC’s conciliation process, you may be able to bring a lawsuit to recover damages. Trust our employment discrimination attorney to protect your rights, your livelihood, and your reputation, inside or outside of the courtroom.
We understand the challenges of pursuing a discrimination claim under federal laws and will explore all your options, including enforcing your rights under applicable local and state laws that generally offer greater legal protections than federal laws.
Know Your Rights Under California Employment Law
Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), it is illegal for employers with 5 or more employees to discriminate against an individual based on a more comprehensive set of protected characteristics than federal laws, including:
- Age (40 and over)
- National origin
- Physical disability
- Mental disability
- Medical condition
- Genetic information
- Marital status
- Gender identity
- Gender expression
- Sexual orientation
- Military/veteran status
California also became the first state in the nation to ban discrimination based on an employee’s hairstyle under The Crown Act (Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair). The act modified the FEHA by expanding the definition of racial discrimination to include “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles,” including braids, locks, and twists.
Discrimination is not limited to minorities, however, and can affect anyone in the workplace. Moreover, under the FEHA, it is also unlawful for employers to discriminate against an employee based on his or her perceived race, sexual orientation, disability, or other protected characteristic.
In particular, unlawful employment practices under the FEHA include:
- Refusing to hire
- Refusing to select an employee for a training program
- Firing or wrongfully terminating an employee
- Discriminating against an employee or candidate regarding any term, condition, or privilege of employment
In short, under California law, discrimination is prohibited in any aspect of employment or hiring. Before you can pursue an employment discrimination lawsuit, you are generally required to file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and “exhaust” all administrative remedies.
If a negotiated settlement with your employer appears unlikely, however, we may recommend requesting an immediate right to sue notice from the DFEH. Regardless of the forum — mediation, arbitration, or litigation — we will work to protect your rights and make sure that you receive fair treatment.
Damages You Can Recover in an Employment Discrimination Lawsuit in California
At The Rankin Law Firm, we will leverage our skills and experience to help you obtain just compensation. Although no two employment discrimination claims are the same, you may be able to recover damages such as:
- Back wages
- Front pay
- Lost benefits (e.g. health and pension)
- Bonus payments
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Also, equitable remedies that force an employer to take certain actions may be available. As an example, if you were fired for a discriminatory reason, the court can require your employer to reinstate you. Also, you may be awarded attorney’s fees and court costs.
Finally, if your employer’s behavior was especially egregious, you may be entitled to punitive damages, which are intended to punish the employer’s misconduct and deter others from engaging in similar misconduct in the future.
Contact An Experienced California Employment Discrimination Attorney
If you have been subjected to discrimination in the workplace, don’t go it alone. Turn to The Rankin Law Firm instead. We have a well-earned reputation as dedicated employee advocates and will work tirelessly to protect your rights. Please contact our office today to speak with an experienced employment discrimination lawyer.