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Our Los Angeles Discrimination Lawyer Are Dedicated to Protecting Employees Laws 

While employers have the right to hire, fire, and promote employees based on their merit, they do not have the right to do so based on certain protected characteristics. There are state and federal laws in place to prevent workplace discrimination so that all people have the opportunity to provide for themselves and their loved ones. If you’ve been the victim of workplace discrimination, an experienced Los Angeles Discrimination Lawyer from Attorneys for Employees can help you. 

Our Los Angeles Discrimination Attorney Explains Different Types of Unlawful Discrimination

Workplace discrimination often happens in subtle ways, but they are illegal regardless. Our firm is experienced in assisting employees that have suffered various types of discrimination, including:

Age Discrimination

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) offers protection to employees aged 40 and older to prevent them from being unfairly discriminated against based solely on their age. 

Gender/Sex Discrimination

It is unlawful to discriminate against anyone based on their gender or sex. For example, if a female is passed over for a promotion solely because she is a female, the employer has violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Employment and Housing Act. 

Race/National Origin Discrimination

An employer cannot discriminate against an employee based on their race, national origin, skin color, or ancestry, as this is also a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Employment and Housing Act. An example of this would be an employer that refuses to hire an otherwise qualified candidate because they are a minority.

Pregnancy Discrimination

A pregnant employee is protected under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). Pregnancy discrimination can take many forms, from refusing to hire a pregnant woman to firing a female employee that gave birth because she exercises her right to leave under the Family Medical Leave act and California Family Rights Act. An employer should treat a pregnant employee the same as any other employee and provide them with any reasonable accommodations they need to accomplish their work duties. 

Sexual Orientation

A person’s sexual orientation, which is their identity concerning their sexual preferences, is protected from workplace discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Employment and Housing Act. For example, an employer is not allowed to use sexual orientation as a basis for demoting an employee.

Disability Discrimination

People who have a disability are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Whether the disability is short-term or long-term, employers are required to work with employees who have a disability and provide them with any reasonable accommodations needed to perform their job.

Religious Discrimination

Religious discrimination is not allowed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as the Fair Employment and Housing Act. An employer cannot treat an employee differently based upon their religious beliefs and must provide reasonable accommodations to an employee to observe their religious holidays. Other practices, such as wearing religious clothing, should be accommodated whenever reasonable.

What Does Discrimination Look Like?

Discrimination in the workplace can take many forms. While some forms are obvious, such as using slurs or other language that targets or disparages minorities, other forms are more discrete—but no less impactful.

Workplace discrimination can also take place in many—in fact, all—aspects of the employment relationship including the following:

  • Job postings or application forms;
  • Job screening processes or interviews;
  • Hiring, job placement, compensation, or seniority decisions;
  • Promotion, pay raise, transfer, or job opportunity decisions; and
  • Working conditions or locations.

In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employers with five or more employees from discriminating against job applicants or employees based on their protected characteristics. Federal laws such as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protect employees in California against workplace discrimination as well. Unfortunately, all forms of discrimination remain common in all aspects of employment, and as a result, many employees find themselves needing to speak with a Los Angeles discrimination lawyer in confidence.

We recommend that you speak with a Los Angeles discrimination attorney if:

1. You Were Improperly Denied a Work Opportunity

This applies to both job applicants and current employees. If you believe that you were denied a position, raise, promotion or any other job opportunity based on your age (if over 40), gender, sex, sexual orientation, race, national origin or any other protected characteristic, you should speak with a lawyer about filing a claim.

2. You Were Improperly Denied Work-Related Benefits or Rights

If you were improperly denied sick leave, family leave, medical leave, or any other work-related benefits or rights, this could also give you the right to remedies under California or federal law. Here, too, covered employers are prohibited from making decisions based on employees’ race, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, or another protected status. Along with FEHA, laws such as the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protect employees in this scenario as well.

3. You Are Being Treated Differently from Similarly Situated Employees

Discrimination can also involve disparate treatment of similarly situated employees. This includes (but is not limited to) providing unequal pay for substantially equal work. Disparate treatment can involve receiving less desirable work assignments or work hours, being subjected to uncomfortable or abusive working conditions, and other forms of discrimination as well.

4. You Have Experienced Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual harassment is considered a form of sex-based discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This includes both (i) quid pro quo sexual harassment (where employees are required to provide sexual favors in order to receive job-related benefits; and (ii) being subjected to a hostile work environment (where employees experience repetitive or enduring sexual contact, communication or conduct). While sexual harassment often involves misconduct by executives, supervisors and managers, employees can file claims based on their coworkers’ misconduct as well.

5. You Were Denied Reasonable Accommodations

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and FEHA require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees, both new and existing, who have disabilities. If you need accommodations, such as a modified workspace or adjusted work hours as a result of having a disability, your employer must generally provide this accommodation as long as the costs are not unduly burdensome. Note, however, that employers do not necessarily have to provide the specific accommodations their employees request if there are other reasonable alternatives available.

6. You Are a Victim of Retaliation

Retaliation is also considered a form of discrimination, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) notes that “[r]etaliation is the most frequently alleged basis of discrimination in the federal sector.” Of course, retaliation is common in the private sector as well. If you have experienced disparate treatment after reporting discrimination in the workplace, a Los Angeles discrimination attorney may be able to help you recover financial compensation.

7. You Have Been Wrongfully Terminated

Discrimination is also a common basis for wrongful termination claims. If you have recently lost your job and you believe that you were fired in violation of FEHA or any federal anti-discrimination law, you should discuss your situation with a lawyer in confidence as soon as possible. While California is an “at law” employment state, the law still prohibits employers from firing employees based on their protected characteristics.

Common Questions About Discrimination

While most people recognize discrimination when they see it, there is a lot more to your case than whether or not you were discriminated against. Our team works with people who are not sure they have a case or do not know what to do next. We are prepared to answer whatever questions you may have, from how the law applies to your case to what is involved in hiring a lawyer. 

Can You Sue for Discrimination in California?

The answer to this question is more complicated than you might expect. To begin, there are two types of legal action in a discrimination claim: 

  1. An administrative claim; and
  2. Filing a lawsuit

When people talk about suing their employer, they are typically referring to the second type of legal action – filing a lawsuit in court. However, it is important to understand the two types of legal action in an employment discrimination case because you are typically required to first exhaust your administrative remedies. In other words, you must first pursue an administrative claim before you can file a lawsuit in court. 

If you have been discriminated against, you will need to first file a claim with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Civil Rights Department (CRD). The EEOC is a federal agency tasked with handling discrimination claims, among other things. The CRD is the California state counterpart to the EEOC, handling many of the same types of issues. The two agencies overlap in many ways, but the CRD can handle complaints that are not covered by federal law. An experienced Los Angeles discrimination attorney can help you decide with which agency you should file your complaint. 

Both the EEOC and the CRD can enforce the law on your behalf by initiating their own enforcement action. However, they can also issue a “right to sue” letter that states that you have a sufficient basis for pursuing a discrimination lawsuit. Your lawyer can work with you to discuss whether you should pursue a right to sue letter from the outset so that you can file a lawsuit as quickly as possible. 

What is the Law Regarding Discrimination in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles employers and employees are governed by both federal and California state employment laws that prohibit any discriminatory employment practices. The main federal and state anti-discrimination laws include the following: 

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • The Equal Pay Act
  • The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

As mentioned above, there is considerable overlap between federal and state law, but victims of discrimination should be aware that California law often provides broader protection than federal law. For example, federal law often applies only to employers with 15 or more employees, while California law applies to employers with as few as 5 employees. Thankfully, you do not need to figure out which law applies to your case – an experienced Los Angeles discrimination attorney can do that for you. 

How Much Does a Discrimination Case Cost?

Different law firms charge for their fees differently. Some may charge their clients on an hourly basis, billed in tenths of an hour. Some may bill on a flat fee basis – for example, they may charge one fee to prepare and file your complaint. Other firms may bill on a contingency fee basis, where their fees are paid from a portion of whatever damages they are able to recover on your behalf. Do not hesitate to ask a lawyer you are considering retaining how they charge for their fees and what they estimate it will cost to handle your case. 

That said, you should also be aware that you may be entitled to reimbursement of your legal fees, court costs, and other expenses in the event that you prevail. This can be very helpful if you have to pay your attorney’s fees upfront. 

How Do I Choose a Discrimination Lawyer?

Choosing the right lawyer is an important step in your case. And while you should take your time in choosing a lawyer, you should also be mindful of any deadlines that may apply to your case. 

A good place to start in choosing a lawyer is to ask your friends or family for any recommendations. If they have a working relationship with any lawyer, that lawyer may be able to refer you to a lawyer that they know who handles employment discrimination cases. 

Many people start looking for a lawyer through a simple Google search, something along the lines of “Los Angeles discrimination attorney” or “Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyer.” Using your location is critical, as it ensures that you will get results that are local to you. If you are using the internet to find a lawyer, take your time to review the websites carefully and ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Do they offer free consultations?
  • Do they handle the type of case that I have?
  • Do they appear to be an authority on discrimination cases? Do they have extensive knowledge and experience?
  • Does the firm handle only employment cases or does it have additional practice areas? 

Whether through a referral or an internet search, you want to take full advantage of the initial consultation. Come prepared and bring any pertinent documents and notes you may have. This is your opportunity to ask questions such as the following: 

  • Have you previously handled cases similar to mine?
  • What do you expect the outcome to be?
  • Do you see any weaknesses in my case?
  • How long do you think it will take for my case to be resolved?
  • What do you estimate it will cost for you to handle my case? 

Ultimately, you want to feel confident that the lawyer you hire can handle your case and achieve the right result. 

What Are the Remedies for Employment Discrimination in Los Angeles?

If you are a victim of employment discrimination in Los Angeles, the remedies that are available to you depend on your specific circumstances. This includes (but is not limited to) whether your lawyer recommends filing a claim with the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) or the EEOC. Generally speaking, however, the remedies that are available in employment discrimination cases include:

  • Hiring or promotion (if you were wrongfully denied a job opportunity on a discriminatory basis);
  • Reinstatement (if you were demoted or terminated in violation of your legal rights);
  • Reasonable accommodations (if you were denied a reasonable accommodation for your disability);
  • Compensation for loss of income and benefits (including both back pay and front pay);
  • Compensation for out-of-pocket expenses and legal fees;
  • Compensation for emotional distress;
  • Punitive damages (if your employer, or prospective employer, engaged in willful or malicious discrimination); and
  • Other appropriate remedies such as training or changes to an employer’s policies and procedures.

Not all remedies will be available in all cases, and, in many instances, employees (or former employees) will need to decide which remedies they want to pursue. For example, if you were denied a job opportunity or wrongfully terminated, do you still want to work for the company? Or would you rather receive compensation and pursue a different career opportunity? These types of questions require careful consideration, and if you have a workplace discrimination claim, you will want to rely on your lawyer’s advice to make informed decisions.

Contact a Los Angeles Discrimination Lawyer For Legal Assistance

If you believe you are the victim of workplace discrimination, contact a Los Angeles discrimination lawyer at our firm today by filling out our intake form. We look forward to reviewing your case to determine the best way we can serve you.