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Should You Contact An Attorney For A Discrimination Lawsuit?
In this day and age it may be difficult to believe that prejudice and inequality still occur in the workplace. As an experienced law practice, The Hanrahan Firm in San Diego recognizes that while reprehensible, this practice routinely occurs, and it is important to hire an employment discrimination lawyer if you feel that there is bias in your place of business.
While there are both federal and state laws prohibiting bigotry and intolerance towards employees, many employers still exhibit unfair bias. In these instances, it is important to find an attorney who understands the laws and what it takes to win in court.
The different types of discrimination include:
- Gender (sexism)
- Religious beliefs
- Disabilities (ableism)
- Sexual orientation & LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or Questioning)
- National origin
- Military status
What Needs to Be Proven in Court:
Discrimination cases must be accompanied with proof, which can sometimes make them difficult to win. As the plaintiff, we must show that there was unfavorable action taken by the employer, the conditions and terms of employment were altered, or that employment decisions were made based on a type of bias. This evidence can be hard to find, but our skilled attorney can help evaluate your situation and determine the next step that needs to be taken.
Circumstantial evidence is often crucial in these types of cases. Usually it can be shown that the mind of the employer, or decision maker, was in a discriminatory state. Examples can include a particular gender or race always being hired despite higher qualifications of those not accepted, or an older employee being fired for something that a younger employee was not fired for.
Q. Is sex discrimination illegal? And if so, what is sex discrimination?
A. Sex discrimination is where men and women, even though similarly situated at work, are treated differently because of their sex or gender. For example, it is illegal for a man to be paid more than a woman for performing substantially similar work. Sex discrimination can also be found where males and females are paid equally, but employer’s policies or practices have a disproportionate adverse impact on a person or group of persons based on sex or gender.
Q. I’m a younger employee under the age of 40, and I am being treated different than the senior employees. Do I have an age discrimination claim?
A. Unfortunately, no. California law only provides protections for discrimination against employees over the age of 40. So, if you are under the age of 40, California age discrimination protections do not apply to you.
Q. Are there any laws that protect employees from disability discrimination?
A. Yes. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on both physical and mental disabilities, as well as medical conditions. California law protects not only intentional discriminatory acts, but also employment practices that appear to be non-discriminatory on their face but have a disproportionate effect on employees who suffer from disabilities or medical conditions.
Q. My employer refused to accommodate me, claiming that my requested accommodation was an “undue hardship.” What is an undue hardship?
A. An employer can claim that a requested accommodation is an undue hardship when it believes the requested accommodation causes a burden. However, the employer’s characterization of an accommodation as an undue hardship is not always correct. California law defines “undue hardship” as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense, when considered in light of certain factors. Furthermore, since a claim of “undue hardship” is an affirmative defense for the employer to assert, the employer bears the burden of proving that the requested accommodation is an undue hardship.
Q. Is sexual orientation protected under California law?
A. Yes. The Fair Employment and Housing Act protects employees from being discriminated against, or harassed, based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. Therefore, it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire or promote an applicable or employee based on the person’s gender identity or sexual orientation. California law also makes it illegal for an employer to terminate a current employee based on the employee’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
Q. What protections do I have at work based on my religion or religious beliefs?
A. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on an employee’s religion or religious beliefs. Therefore, you cannot be refused employment or terminated based on your religion or religious views. Furthermore, the law requires that employers accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, so long as the requested accommodation does not present an undue hardship.
Q. What are some examples of reasonable accommodations for religious beliefs?
A. There are many examples of possible accommodations. However, some of the most common accommodations for religious beliefs are flexible scheduling to attend religious observances and days off to observe holy days.
Q. Can my employer require me to observe its religious practices?
A. No. Employers are strictly prohibited from requiring employees to engage in any religious behavior or to observe any religious practices, especially those that conflict with the employee’s own religious beliefs.
Q. I am an atheist. Am I protected by anti-discrimination laws?
A. Yes. Religious discrimination laws prohibit discrimination based on an employee’s religious beliefs, or lack of religious beliefs. Therefore, it is illegal for an employer to treat religious employees more favorably than employees who are not religious.
Q. Is there a law that protects pregnant employees from being discriminated against?
A. Yes. Under California law, pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Therefore, all the protections that apply to sex apply equally to pregnancy. Therefore, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis of her pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
Q. My pregnancy has been labeled “high risk” and my doctor has placed me on restrictions. Is my supervisor required to accommodate me?
A. Yes, so long as the requested accommodations are not an undue hardship to the employer, your employer must observe those restrictions. If you are temporarily unable to perform your essential job duties due to your pregnancy, your employer must treat you the same way it treats any other temporarily disabled employee. This may also require your employer to engage in the interactive process with you to determine reasonable accommodation to observe the restrictions.
Q. Am I legally entitled to “baby bonding” leave after the birth of my child?
A. It depends. The old rule used to be that you were entitlement to baby bonding leave if your employer had 50 or more employees within 75 miles of your workplace, and you had worked for the employer for at least 12 months with at least 1,250 work hours in the previous 12-month period. California law recently expanded protections, now applying the law to employers with 20 or more employees within 75 miles of your workplace. If you qualify for leave, your employer must grant you up to 12 weeks of unpaid baby bonding leave upon your request, and provide you job protection while on that leave.
Q. I took two months of pregnancy disability leave prior to giving birth to my child. Do I get less than 12 weeks of baby bonding leave now?
A. No. As long as your employer is a covered employer, and you meet the requirements for entitlement to baby bonding leave, you are still entitled to your full 12-weeks of leave. Under California law, an employee is entitled to up to four months of pregnancy disability leave for a disability due to the employee’s pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. This pregnancy disability leave is separate from, and distinct from, baby bonding leave entitlement under the California Family Rights Act. California law expressly provides that pregnancy disability leave, and baby bonding leave do not run concurrently.
Q. What do national origin discrimination laws protect?
A. In California, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee because of the employee’s birthplace, ancestry, culture, or linguistic characteristics common to a specific ethnic group.
Q. I believe I was refused a job because of my accent. Is this unlawful national origin discrimination?
A. Possibly. It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an job applicant or employee based on that person’s accent, unless the employer is able to prove that the accent materially interferes with the person’s ability to perform the job.