Practice Areas

Experienced Discrimination Lawyer Safeguarding the Rights of Employees

Everyone deserves a safe and comfortable working environment free from harassment and discrimination. While it’s commonly known that discrimination based on race, gender, and disability is prohibited in the workplace, there are many other types of discrimination that are also illegal. Having a knowledgeable and experienced discrimination lawyer can make or break your case.

Notably, California law offers broad protection for a wide range of protected characteristics. If you have been discriminated against by your employer, the attorneys at Optimum Employment Lawyers can help ensure you obtain the compensation you deserve — and obtain redress for the humiliation and harm you were forced to suffer.

California Workplace Religious Discrimination Freedom Act of 2012

Under the California Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012 and federal law, it is illegal to discriminate against an employee or treat them differently because of their religion. Not only do these laws cover organized religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam — but they also protect employees who have sincere religious or moral beliefs, as well as those who are married to someone associated with a particular religion.

Employers must offer reasonable accommodation to employees for their religious beliefs, unless it would create an undue hardship. A reasonable accommodation can include:

  • Time off to observe a religious holiday or Sabbath
  • Travel time off for religious observance
  • Accommodation for religious attire
  • Accommodation for facial hair and jewelry

Employees may also not be segregated or harassed in the workplace due to their religion — or prohibited from participating in their religious activities.

Marital Status Discrimination Protection Under California Fair Employment and Housing Act

Pursuant to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, an employer may not discriminate against an employee or applicant based on marital status — or perceived marital status. Specifically, they may not refuse to hire or select an individual for a training program due to marital status, terminate them, or discriminate against them in terms of compensation, benefits, or other employment privileges.

The term “marital status” is broad and includes those who are:

  • Married
  • Divorced
  • Separated
  • Engaged
  • Widowed
  • Planning to be married
  • Contemplating divorce

In many cases, marital status discrimination can overlap with other types of discrimination such as religion, gender, or sexual orientation discrimination. Importantly, an employer may also not discriminate against or harass an employee because they are married to someone of the same sex or a different race or religion.

Protection from Discrimination Based on Medical Conditions

Employers are not permitted to discriminate against employees based on medical conditions or genetic information. Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, an employee may not be treated less favorably than others because of a medical condition. Unless doing so would result in substantial hardship to the employer, an employee with a medical condition must be offered reasonable accommodation. Job applicants must also be considered without regard for an actual or perceived medical condition.

According to California law, a medical condition can include:

  • Cancer
  • Genetic conditions
  • Mental disabilities
  • Physical disabilities
  • Permanent and temporary conditions
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Chronic diseases
  • Cosmetic disfigurement

Generally, an employer may not ask an employee or job applicant to take a medical exam unless it is related to the job and necessary for business.

California Military or Veteran Status Discrimination

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits workplace discrimination and harassment of those who serve or have served in the United States Armed Forces, the United States Armed Forces Reserve, the United States National Guard, and the California National Guard. Employers may also not discriminate against an individual based on a perception that they are a veteran or member of the military regarding a job application, promotion, assignment, compensation, or any privileges of employment.

The law specifically protects employees and job applicants who are:

  • Veterans
  • Active-duty military members
  • Reservists
  • Family members of military members

In addition, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act offers protection under federal law to service members who return to employment after having served in the military — including reservists and National Guard members.

What Remedies are Available for Discrimination in the Workplace?

If you have been subjected to discrimination or harassment in the workplace by your employer — or by your co-workers and the employer failed to take action — it’s essential to be aware that you have rights. California law offers broad protection for employees who have been mistreated in their place of employment, as well as those who have been retaliated against for reporting discrimination.

In some cases, you may be required to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment prior to bringing a lawsuit. The Department has its own administrative procedures that must be followed, separate from the litigation process. If the Department cannot resolve the matter, you will obtain a right-to-sue notice that allows you to commence a case in court.

When you commence a lawsuit for unlawful employment discrimination, you may be entitled to recover a wide range of damages. For example, you may be able to recover front pay, back pay, lost benefits, bonus pay, and other monetary damages. You might also be entitled to non-economic damages and punitive damages in some cases.

Discrimination in the workplace can take an emotional and financial toll on you and your family — and it’s vital to hold your employer accountable for their actions or inaction. At Optimum Employment Lawyers, we know that your job is more than the income it provides. Our attorneys are committed to fighting for your right to compensation and obtaining the justice you deserve.

Contact a California Employment Discrimination Lawyer

If you were treated unfairly in the workplace because you belong to a protected class, it’s critical to take the necessary measures to ensure your employer is held responsible. A skilled employment discrimination lawyer can guide you through the legal process and help ensure you obtain the monetary recovery to which you are entitled. Optimum Employment Lawyers offers high-quality legal services and personalized attention for a wide range of employment law matters. Contact us at (949) 954-8181 to schedule a consultation.