5 Laws in California that Protect You from Discrimination in the Workplace
As an employee in California, you are protected by five basic workplace discrimination laws. These laws give you actual rights that you can legally enforce. This article looks at what these laws and rights are.
In the seven years prior to 2017, four out of five employees filing job discrimination cases in America received no compensation at all, according to a Washington Post report in 2019 (washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/business/discrimination-complaint-outcomes/). Inadequate understanding of important job discrimination laws among workers is one important reason why success rates tend to be as low as they are.
It’s important for every worker to learn about job discrimination laws
As a worker, reading up on the different job discrimination laws that give you your rights in the workplace can help you become aware of violations when you see them. It can also help you recognize when you have a case that has a chance of succeeding.
What follows are the five employment laws that every worker needs to be aware of.
The Equal Pay Act
Enacted in 1963, this law gives employees the ability to ensure that employers offer workers equal pay no matter what their gender, when they perform the same kind of work. It is illegal to demonstrate bias in pay levels, or even the perks granted, based on gender.
Unequal pay for similar work, however, is acceptable when it is granted based on seniority, merit, or quantity of work done.
If you believe you have clear evidence that you are discriminated against in the area of compensation, you don’t even need to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; you can go straight to court. The law does place a time limit on legal action sought, however – you have two years from the time of the offense to take it to court.
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act makes it illegal for employers to discriminate among job applicants and workers based on race, origin, or religious affiliation. Discrimination can apply to opportunities for advancement, compensation, or employment.
If you believe that you face discrimination by an employer to do with an infringement of your civil rights, or even discrimination by a potential employer, consulting an attorney at employment law would be the right step to take to understand your options.
Age discrimination laws
While child labor laws protect young, underage workers from being exploited in the workplace, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and a similar law enacted in 1975 afford protection to workers over the age of 40. If you believe that your employer promotes younger workers over older ones, offers better compensation to younger workers, or simply chooses to retain younger workers, and if you have a reasonable amount of evidence to support your belief, you can file charges under the age discrimination laws.
Disability discrimination laws
When employees struggle with disabilities, but are otherwise able to perform their duties on the job in a normal way without seeking assistance from coworkers, they cannot be discriminated against in the workplace. This law also requires employers to provide a physically accessible workplace to employees who struggle with physical challenges.
Civil rights discrimination
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 provided basic rights against racial discrimination. The Civil Rights Act of 1991 expands the situational application of these protections.
If you’re a worker in California, and you believe that you’re a victim of discrimination in any one of these ways, you have the right to fill out a discrimination complaint form, and file it with the Department of Justice. However, it would be a good idea to begin by seeking the counsel of a professional employment lawyer. They could help you gauge the viability of your case before you make an actual move. Legal representation could also help you take your case to a successful conclusion.