meetingroomDiscrimination at the workplace is no joke. However, it is not always easy to know whether discrimination is actually happening. Many times, victims of discrimination end up feeling as though they are simply being too sensitive, that the perpetrators are “just joking” or “teasing” them,  and that the best thing to do is to just brush it off and forget it about it.  If you’re concerned about whether you really are being discriminated at work, here’a a short guide to help you.

In California, discrimination is not acceptable in the workplace. Discrimination is illegal if the victim is being discriminated on the basis of their race, religious beliefs, color, birthplace, medical conditions, marital status, sex, age, or maternity/child status.  The California Fair Employment and Housing Act makes it unlawful for any employer with over 5 employees to discriminate against an employee based on an unlawful reason, such as race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, or any other protected reason.   Individuals who succeed in bringing discrimination claims are entitled to back-pay, compensatory damages, and attorneys’ fees.

Discrimination cases come in two forms:  “treatment” and “impact.” A “treatment” case arises when the employer actually treats the  individual differently. On the other hand,  an “impact” claim arises when the employer is doing something completely legal (like asking for your home address) but then makes decisions that impact a group of people differently.

What are some real-life  examples of discrimination?

  • Assigning all Hispanic/Latino employees to work in a particular area or department
  • Making negative comments about African American or black employees or not treating them equally
  • Making fun or teasing someone because of their accent or because English is a second language
  • Stereotyping LGBT employees or treating them differently
  • Paying women less then men for the same work because they have to miss work sometimes due to children
  • “Jokingly” referring to middle-eastern employees about being terrorists
  • Boss who promotes employees of his background, even though other employees are more talented, have more experience, etc.
  • Requiring tests, like math tests, that have nothing to do with the job but screen out particular kinds of people
  • Making hiring/firing/promotions decisions based on what  part of the city you may live in
  • Complaining about an employee’s “smelly food”  to the whole office
  • Coworkers/supervisors  making comments that they “are Americans and were born here.”
  • Making fun of someone’s first name or last name, telling them that “sounds like a dictator’s name”
  • Hearing references about “your people” or “your kind”
  • Women being given bad reviews for  “always leaving early to go take  care of their kids”
  • Not being given days off or being given a hard time for asking for religious holidays off
  • Demoting or failing to promote someone because “they were too sick” during the year and missed too much time
  • Trying to fire someone because they got hurt on the job
  • Retaliating against  someone because they asked for a break or to go on lunch
  • Making older employees (over 40 years old) do all of the undesirable tasks on the job

If  you suspect that you might be getting discriminated at work and possibly retaliated against because of it, give us a call. Axis Legal Counsel represents  in numerous kinds of lawsuits and disputes involving some of the nation’s largest employers.  Whether it is harassment, discrimination, medical/disability discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment, wage/hour, workplace bullying, or other claims, Axis Legal Counsel represents clients in employment and labor law and focused on providing high-quality legal services.

Discrimination is illegal.

 If you or a loved one has been the victim of

discrimination at the workplace, get help now.


Request a Consultation

Top Employment FAQs

Latest Employment Representations