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7 Types of Civil Rights Discrimination at Work

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Treating someone unfairly at work isn’t nice – but it’s not necessarily unlawful. However, in certain circumstances where unfair treatment violates your civil rights, you may have the right to file a lawsuit.

Civil rights help protect you from unfair treatment and are enforceable everywhere – including the workplace. For example, federal laws such as the Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on protected categories.

To know if you’ve been discriminated against, you need to know your rights. Below are the protected categories and common types of discrimination in California workplaces you should know about:

1. Age Discrimination  

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits discrimination against workers who are age 40 or older. This applies to any aspect of employment which includes hiring, firing, job assignments, pay, promotions, benefits, training, layoffs, and any other condition of employment. 


2. Race, Color, or National Origin Discrimination

Federal law protects workers from harassment or discrimination at work based on race, color, or national origin. Race or color discrimination involves treating a person unfairly based on factors such as skin color or hair texture.  National origin discrimination includes treating someone unfavorably because they’re from a certain country or part of the world. It also includes unfair treatment because of one’s ethnicity or accent.


3. Sex or Gender Discrimination

Sex discrimination involves treating a person unfairly based on that person’s sex. Discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or transgender status is also unlawful.


4. Disability Discrimination 

The law states that employers cannot treat a worker less favorably because he or she has a disability. Additionally, civil rights law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with a disability unless it causes undue hardship.


5. Religious Discrimination

California workers are allowed to have their own set of religious beliefs. The law not only protects workers who belong to organized traditions such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism, but also other religious, moral, or ethical beliefs. 


6. Pregnancy Status Discrimination 

Pregnancy status discrimination happens when a woman is treated unfavorably because of her pregnancy or related medical condition. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy related to any aspect of employment. This includes hiring, firing, job assignments, pay, promotions, training, fringe benefits, layoffs, and any other condition of employment. 


7. Genetic Information Discrimination

Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits discrimination based on genetic information in the workplace. Genetic information includes information about a person’s genetic tests, genetic tests of that person’s family, and information about the appearance of a disorder or disease.

Employers cannot use genetic information to make any employment decision.


Contact a Civil Rights Discrimination Attorney Today

All workers should be treated fairly in the workplace. If you believe your civil rights may have been violated at work, you have the right to file a legal claim. Our Los Angeles employment attorneys have over two decades of experience fighting for employee rights and we can help you get the justice you deserve. Contact our office today to speak with an attorney about your potential case.





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