Types of Workplace Discrimination and Examples in California (2024)

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There is no reason for workplace discrimination to be present in 2024. However, discriminatory practices are still rampant throughout California businesses and harm countless hardworking employees every day. At MM Law, we’ve experienced firsthand how heavily discrimination can impact employees physically, mentally, and financially.

To better understand your rights as a California employee, you need to understand state employment laws and the protections that they offer. In California, workplace discrimination is a direct violation of the state’s labor laws. This means that affected employees have the opportunity to hold their employers liable when they’re impacted by discrimination. If you are unsure whether you are being subjected to such treatment, it can be useful to learn more about workplace discrimination and what it looks like in California.

What Characteristics Are Protected From Discrimination in California?

Many employees don’t realize just how extensive California’s labor laws are. By combining the state’s unique employment laws with federal guidelines, California employees are protected in a myriad of ways while at work. The following are protected characteristics that an employer cannot discriminate against:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Mental or physical disabilities
  • Gender identity
  • National origin
  • Pregnancy status
  • Medical status or conditions
  • Genetic information
  • Military status
  • Marital status
  • Eligible individuals who request leave

Indirect vs. Direct Discrimination

Because workplace discrimination can come in so many forms, it can be difficult to categorize offenses in detail. However, the law generally recognizes two main types of workplace discrimination. These categories are mostly used to define how many employees were impacted by discrimination and whether the harmful behavior was intentional. The two categories are:

  1. Direct Discrimination
    Direct discrimination, as its name suggests, occurs when your employer, boss, or another coworker actively mistreats you because you have a protected trait. This kind of discrimination is intentional and is done to directly harm an employee while others are left unbothered. For example, if an employer refuses to give promotions to women because he believes that they’re too emotional to handle the stress, this is a form of direct discrimination in California.
  2. Indirect DiscriminationUnlike direct discrimination, indirect discrimination is generally unintentional. Indirect discrimination often occurs when an employer or high-up employee implements a policy that indirectly impacts people in a protected group. However, it occurs while every employee is still being treated the same. For example, if a construction company creates a policy with a height or weight restriction, this immediately puts women at a disadvantage when they are still able to perform the job.

Common Examples of Workplace Discrimination in California

At MM Law, our clients have experienced workplace discrimination in just about every form. If, for example, you’re being treated poorly because you’re pregnant or you’re losing hours because you’re considered “old,” keep an eye out for these common acts of workplace discrimination:

  • You experienced race or gender discrimination during the hiring process. In other words, you weren’t hired because of your race, skin color, or gender.
  • You face race or gender discrimination when working for promotions. For example, white people are being promoted no matter what other workers do.
  • Your hours were decreased after your employer found out about your age, sexual orientation, or some sort of protected characteristic.
  • You receive less desirable working hours and shifts because of your race, gender, or other protected characteristic.
  • You’re given an inappropriate amount of work or tasks that are not your job as a form of discrimination.
  • Your hours were decreased, you were fired, or you were not hired because you are pregnant.

FAQs About Types of Workplace Discrimination and Examples in California

What Is the Statute of Limitations on a California Workplace Discrimination Claim?

Every type of employment claim has a statute of limitations to ensure that all claims are valid and addressed in a timely manner. When an employee is a victim of workplace discrimination in California, they are given three years to form and file a substantial claim against their employer. Generally, this is three years from the date of the last incident that they were involved in. You cannot file an employment claim once your statute of limitations has run out because your case will no longer be viewed as valid.

Are Lawyers Necessary When Filing a Discrimination Claim in California?

When filing a discrimination claim, the help of a Workplace Discrimination Attorney in Glendale, CA, is indispensable. While lawyers are technically not required in the claim-filing process, it’s important that you have representation when facing your employer’s defense team. Most big businesses have daunting legal teams that fight for your boss to pay the least amount possible. Our team at MM Law has experience representing employees against businesses and their lawyers, using effective strategies that demonstrate how you were victimized to earn you compensation.

How Do You File an Employment Claim for Discrimination?

If you are experiencing discrimination at work, the first thing you should do is report it to your HR team or your employer. If no action is taken, you can then move on to file a claim. To file a workplace discrimination claim in California, you can submit your documents to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Make sure that you have substantial evidence that can support your claim in your hearing.

How Are Harassment and Discrimination Different?

The key difference between harassment and discrimination is that harassment tends to make someone uncomfortable, while discrimination can directly impact an employee’s day-to-day work life. Harassment can involve inappropriate comments, behaviors, and gestures that make someone nervous or uncomfortable. Discrimination, however, is the mistreatment of an employee because of a protected trait that they have.

Get the Discrimination Representation That You Deserve

Getting the respect that you deserve at work shouldn’t be grueling. At MM Law, our firm is based on the belief that employees should be the priority. With the dedication that you put into your job, the least that you deserve is to be treated fairly. Don’t wait to take action against discrimination in your California workplace; hold your employer accountable today. Contact a team member at MM Law for workplace discrimination representation that’s focused on you.

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