March 2, 2023

Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace

Employees should be able to work without fear of harassment or discrimination. However, when discrimination or harassment does occur in the workplace, employees have legal protections and should seek the advice of an attorney experienced in this area of the law. At Blake Jones Law, PC, we focus our practice on assisting California employees that have been treated unfairly at work to obtain the compensation they are owed. 

What Constitutes Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace

Discrimination and harassment can take many forms. Following are examples of discrimination and harassment in the workplace:

  • An employer that fails to interview or hire persons of a particular ethnicity
  • An employer only criticizes the work of an employee of a particular national origin, even though it is on par with or better than colleagues of a different national origin
  • Employees over the age of 40 are not considered for promotions; only younger employees are promoted
  • A female employee becomes pregnant and therefore is passed over for a deserved promotion
  • A supervisor likes to tell profane or derogatory jokes to other employees
  • Sexually harassing another employee
  • Inappropriate and unwanted physical touching, such as rubbing or grabbing the genitalia of a co-worker 
  • Derogatory comments about a particular sex or ethnic group
  • A supervisor offers a raise or paid time off to an employee in exchange for sexual favors

It is important to note that discrimination and harassment can be difficult, although not impossible, to prove when the conduct is an isolated incident. A clear pattern of conduct is typically needed. 

Federal and State Laws Regulating Discrimination and Harassment in California Workplace

Multiple state and federal laws address discrimination and harassment in the workplace. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that “no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” 

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is a state statute that prohibits employment discrimination. It covers employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, apprenticeship programs, and any entity or person that aids, abets, incites, compels, or coerces a discriminatory act. It prohibits discrimination based on the following:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National Origin (Ancestry)
  • Physical Disability
  • Mental Disability
  • Medical Condition
  • Marital Status
  • Sex or Sexual Orientation
  • Age (for persons over 40)
  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth (or related medical conditions)

There are some exceptions to FEHA, which is why it is always advised to speak with an employment law attorney if you feel you have been discriminated against. 

The FEHA also prohibits harassment against employees, applicants, unpaid interns or volunteers, and contractors. 

A California Discrimination and Harassment Attorney On Your Side

If you have been discriminated against or harassed in the workplace in California, we are here to provide the legal assistance and guidance you need. Contact our firm by calling 954-523-1112 or via our website to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.