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What Laws Protect My Civil Rights at Work?

Table of Contents for Specific Topics

All employees are entitled to be treated fairly at work. To ensure employers comply, state and federal laws exist to ensure an equitable, safe, and healthy workplace. As a California employee, you should know that you have a number of civil rights in the workplace.


Employee Civil Rights at Work

All employees have basic rights at work which include:

  • Right not be harassed or discriminated against
  • Right to receive equal pay for equal work
  • Right to receive reasonable accommodations
  • Right to expect any genetic or medical information shared with the employer be kept confidential
  • Right to report discrimination or participate in an investigation without being retaliated against

If an employer violates your rights, a civil rights discrimination attorney can help you have the file a claim to obtain justice.


Federal and California State Laws

Both federal and state laws exist to ensure fair treatment at work. Here are some of the most significant ones you should know about:


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the federal law that prohibits employment discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, color, and sex (sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or pregnancy). The law specifically makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate during any part of the employment process including hiring, firing, advancement, training, benefits, or job assignments. Title VII applies to private employers, local government, and state government employers with 15 or more employees. The law also applies to federal job applicants and employees.

Retaliation and harassment are prohibited under Title VII.


Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963

This federal law protects employees against wage discrimination based on sex. The EPA protects both women and men. Employers are required to pay men and women who perform substantially similar jobs equal pay.

Pay includes all forms of compensation including salary, bonuses, overtime pay, vacation or holiday pay, life insurance, benefits, and reimbursement for travel expenses.


California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

FEHA Applies to both private and public employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations. The law makes it illegal for employers with five (5) or more employees to discriminate against job applicants and employees based on a protected category. The law also prohibits retaliation against an employee or job applicant.

The law protects individuals from discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex (gender or pregnancy), marital status, mental and physical disability, age (40 and over), and medical condition. Additionally, FEHA protects employees that are perceived to have any of the protected characteristics.

Under FEHA, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation upon request. This includes reasonable accommodation as it relates to a job applicant’s or employee’s religious belief or disability. Employers must also provide reasonable accommodation for employees as it relates to pregnancy, childbirth, or other related medical condition.


Contact a Civil Rights Attorney Today

If you believe your civil rights have been violated at work, our employment attorneys can help. With over two decades of experience fighting for employee rights, our Los Angeles employment attorneys can help you get the justice you deserve. Contact Mesriani Law Group today to speak with an attorney about your potential case.

About the Author
Picture of Rodney Mesriani
Rodney Mesriani

Rodney Mesriani is the principal partner of the Los Angeles and Santa Monica based Mesriani Law Group. He specializes in personal injury and employment law while also being an accomplished litigator and trial attorney. Rodney is an aggressive negotiator and a well-known and respected attorney in the areas of practice he specializes in.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from California State University Northridge before attending Southwestern School of Law where he received his Juris Doctorate. While being an accomplished personal injury and employment lawyer, Rodney Mesriani has made it a point to attend numerous State Sponsored MCLE events and seminars over the years as a law practitioner to be informed of the latest laws and litigation strategies.



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