California employees are protected by some of most worker-friendly employment laws in the country. While federal laws set the minimum requirements employers must follow, California gives employees additional protection at work.
One of the primary employment state laws is FEHA.
Definition of FEHA
FEHA is a state anti-discrimination law that protects employees from discrimination, retaliation, or harassment at work.
FEHA applies to both private and public sector employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations. The law protects employees (full-time or part-time), applicants, volunteers, unpaid interns, and contractors.
The law makes it illegal for employers with 5 (five) or more employees to discriminate against potential job applicants or employees due to a protected category. Anti-harassment provisions make harassment unlawful in any workplace, regardless of the number of employees or size of business.
Additionally, employers cannot retaliate against job applicants or employees because they have declared their rights. Examples of retaliation include firing, demoting, suspending, or failing to give equal consideration when making employment decisions.
Types of Discrimination FEHA Prohibits
FEHA prohibits discrimination based on protected classes including race, color, religion, religious creed, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, gender, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, genetic information, medical conditions, marital status, or military or veteran status.
An example of discrimination based on age, would be an older worker being treated differently from a younger worker.
A disability discrimination example, would be an employer’s refusal to hire an employee based on a perceived or actual disability—that wouldn’t prevent that employee form performing the tasks required. Another example includes an employer’s refusal to provide reasonable accommodation at work so you can perform your essential job functions.
Gender discrimination can take the form of an employer paying an employee less or being evaluated to higher standards based on their gender.
The law also protects employees and job applicants against sexual harassment, retaliation, employment discrimination, housing discrimination, or denial of pregnancy or medical leave.
Victims of unlawful discrimination can file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
It’s important to note that there is a statute of limitation for these types of cases. Since each case is different, it’s advisable to speak with an experienced attorney to learn more about the specifics of the statute of limitations. An attorney can also advise you whether it’s better to proceed with your claim through EEOC or DFEH.
Additional FEHA Requirements for Employers
In 2016, additional anti-discrimination provisions went into effect that strengthened employment laws that provided employees protection.
In addition to creating anti-discriminatory and anti-harassment policies, employers must also distribute written copies of the policies to employees (in English and other languages spoken by 10% of more of staff). Employers must also conduct training on the topics of discrimination and harassment.
Consult with a FEHA Lawyer Today
Employment discrimination cases are highly complex. If you believe you’ve been a victim of employment discrimination, our experienced Fair Employment Housing Act attorneys can help you through this legal process. We are confident that our experienced lawyers can obtain the maximum compensation for your case and offer a “no win, no fee” guarantee. Contact Mesriani Law Group’s office in Los Angeles today to speak with an attorney that will fight for you.