California employees have 17 legally-protected characteristics, and it is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees because of any of those characteristics. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee because of his or her race, color, sex, age, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, military or veteran status, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or genetic information. When an employer fires, demotes, or harasses an employee because of one of the employee’s legally-protected characteristics, that’s illegal discrimination.
There are different types of discrimination. One common type of discrimination is “disparate treatment.” Disparate treatment is when an employee’s legally-protected characteristic was a substantial motivating reason for an employer’s decision to take an adverse employment action against that employee.
“Adverse employment actions” include: termination; demotion; any action or pattern of actions that materially adversely affects the employee’s terms, conditions, or privileges of employment; or any conduct that is reasonably likely to impair a reasonable employee’s job performance or prospects for promotion. “Substantial motivating reason” means that an employee’s legally-protected characteristic does not need to be only reason the employer’s adverse employment action. As long as an employee’s legally-protected characteristic actually contributed to employer’s decision to take the adverse employment action, the employer is liable for discrimination.
If you have experienced illegal discrimination at work, we can take legal action to get you compensation for the damages you have suffered.