What Counts as Discrimination?
California employees have protections on the job from all kinds of illegal behavior by their employers. In addition to wage and workplace safety laws, anti-discrimination laws are one of the biggest safeguards against employer misconduct. These laws give California residents rights, and if your rights are violated, always consult with an employment attorney in Ventura and Santa Barbara.
Certain Classes of People Are Protected from Workplace Discrimination
It is important to remember that workplace discrimination is actually construed relatively broadly to prevent many kinds of illegal behaviors. Here are some of them:
- Unfair workplace treatment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability, age, or genetic information
- Harassment on the basis of being a part of the above classes
- Refusing to accommodate your religious beliefs or disability
- Asking improper questions about genetic or medical information
To be clear, supervisors and employers make decisions on the job every day that affect their workers. Some of these are adverse decisions that harm people in protected classes. Not all of these are considered discrimination.
The Characteristics of Discrimination
When it comes to unfair workplace treatment, there are four characteristics of discrimination. They are:
- The employee was part of a protected class
- The employer knew that the employee was part of the protected class
- There was an adverse action that harmed the employee, such as firing, demotion, a pay cut, or other discipline
- Other similarly situated employees were not treated the same way
Harassment is also much broader than many people think. First, it does not have to come from a supervisor. You can be harassed if fellow employees have created a hostile work environment with jokes, remarks, or gestures. You can prove harassment either through a pattern of repeated acts or through one large impactful incident.
When it comes to proving a harassment claim, all you need to show is that it had a negative effect on your ability to do your job. Harassment does not need to be something that causes you physical or psychological harm or even considerable mental anguish, although those effects often impact the legal value of your case.
Discrimination Includes Retaliating Against Those Who Come Forward
Many people are afraid to come forward because they worry about what their employer might do to them. Once you complain about job discrimination, you also gain additional protections by becoming part of another protected class. Employers cannot take any action against you to retaliate for your claim no matter the end result of an investigation. In other words, harassment can also be retaliation against people who complain against discriminatory conduct.
This is a reason why you should lodge a formal complaint as soon as possible if you are facing anything described above. Speaking to an attorney immediately after you encounter discrimination at work could help you handle the situation, whether you end up complaining on a company level or filing a lawsuit over the behavior.
Contact a Santa Barbara and Ventura Employment Attorney
The Ventura and Santa Barbara attorneys at Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC can help you when you are experiencing any of the illegal conduct described above. We help our clients get results in discrimination actions. Call us at (805) 643-5555 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.