Workplace discrimination is absolutely unacceptable under all circumstances. If you have been fired from your job, laid off, been passed over for promotions or other opportunities based on your age, race, gender, or any such personal characteristics, which are protected under state and federal laws, it is important that you speak with an experienced Los Angeles discrimination lawyer about asserting your employee rights.
California and federal laws give workers the right to apply for jobs and to continue to do their job without the fear that they will be judged on personal characteristics rather than their professional qualifications and abilities. Every worker has the right to equal treatment in the workplace.
If you have been discriminated against in the workplace, you can seek legal remedies under state or federal law. Schedule your consultation with one of our attorneys by calling (818) 990-8300 today.
What Is Considered Workplace Discrimination in Los Angeles?
Discrimination refers to prejudicial treatment based on an employee's personal characteristics such as:
State and federal discrimination laws protect both current workers and job applicants. Any Los Angeles employee who believes they have been discriminated against in the workplace can file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and can even potentially file a workplace discrimination lawsuit against the employer.
Some of the most common types of discrimination in the workplace are:
- Age Discrimination: The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) makes it a violation to discriminate against any current employee or job applicant over the age of 40. It is illegal to fire, lay off, demote or take any such adverse employment action against an employee because of his or her age.
- Sex Discrimination: Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination in the workplace that is based on an employee's gender or sexual orientation. Discrimination against an individual because of gender identity, including transgender status, or because of sexual orientation is discrimination because of sex in violation of Title VII.
- Race, Religion, and National Origin Discrimination: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that employers shall not discriminate against workers based on race or religion. The same law also requires employers to make reasonable accommodation for religious practices unless it presents an undue burden to the employer. Employers are also prohibited under federal law from discriminating against employees or job applicants based on their national origin or perceived ethnic background. It is also a violation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 to discriminate against a worker or applicant based on his or her citizenship or immigration status.
- Disability Discrimination: The Americans with Disability Act and the Rehabilitation Act require that employers cannot discriminate against current or prospective employees based on any type of physical or mental disability, or even a medical condition such as cancer. The employer is also required to make reasonable accommodations for disabled persons in the workplace such as constructing wheelchair ramps, providing ergonomic furniture, etc. Under the law, pregnancy is considered a disability as well. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits employers from discriminating against women in the workplace due to pregnancy. The employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women when necessary.
How Does an Attorney Prove Discrimination in Los Angeles?
To prove discrimination in the workplace, there are several elements that must be proved:
- Protected Characteristics: Employees must show evidence that they have been treated unfairly or have been discriminated against because of "protected characteristics" such as age, race, gender, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. For example, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee based on the color of his or his skin. An employee, for example, cannot be passed up for promotion or be deprived of training opportunities or opportunities for advancement because he or she is African American. The law clearly states that people in these protected classes should not be treated differently than someone who is not a member of the class. You are legally protected from discrimination solely based on who you are.
- Ability and Qualifications: You must prove that you have the necessary qualifications to do your job and that you performed your job competently and with integrity. As Los Angeles employment attorneys, we often note that employers are quick to criticize employees' performance when the issue of discrimination is raised. In other words, they try to point a finger at the employee who is alleging discrimination to discredit him or her and to save their reputation.
- Eyewitness Testimony: If your employer has made any disparaging or discriminatory comments about you, talk to colleagues who may have overheard those comments or seek out others in your workplace who may have also been discriminated against for the same or different reason. Eyewitness testimony can be extremely valuable in Los Angeles discrimination cases.
- Impact of Discrimination: It also helps to show evidence that the discrimination had a negative impact on your job and career. Examples of adverse employment decisions triggered by discrimination may include an employee being terminated or demoted; getting a poor performance review despite competent job performance; not getting raises or bonuses, and not receiving training opportunities. These negative actions are relatively easier to prove.
- Lack of Objectivity: Most companies have employee manuals clearly detailing how employees are evaluated on the job. Using these criteria, you can show how the discriminatory acts against you were not consistent with the principles and rules set forth in the company's employee manual. We often see that companies use subjective criteria such as an employee not "having the right attitude" or not "being a team player." However, criteria for making work-related determinations should be objective and quantifiable.
- A Pattern of Mistreatment: When you compare your treatment to that of those outside your protected class, do you see a significant difference? If that is the case, you may be able to show a pattern of unfair or discriminatory treatment at your place of work. You may be able to show that colleagues with similar qualifications and experience have been given better opportunities and projects that are more favorable.
Discrimination & Retaliation
It is important for you to get it on the record that you don't appreciate being discriminated against. If your supervisor is retaliating against you by further mistreating you at work, it is important that you document such retaliation and report that as well. File a complaint with your human resources department and report your employer to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Contact an experienced Los Angeles workplace discrimination lawyer who will fight to protect your rights every step of the way.
What Steps Does a Discrimination Lawyer Take to Protect My Rights?
If you have been discriminated against or mistreated in the workplace, it is important that your discrimination attorney protects your rights by taking the following steps:
- Be Objective When It Comes to The Evidence: To be successful with a Los Angeles discrimination claim, it is important to focus on the facts and details of the case, as opposed to emotion. While being discriminated against is a traumatic event, when it comes to your claim, what will be scrutinized is the evidence. For example, it will not suffice to say that your supervisor doesn't like you. To prove discrimination, you must be able to provide concrete facts and evidence such as emails, internal memos or other communication that are discriminatory in nature.
- Maintain a Record: It is important that you compile all evidence by date. Keep a journal of your employer's discriminatory behavior. Your notes should include the time, date, location, and the names of the individuals who witnessed the incident as well as a detailed description of what happened.
- Report the Incidents: Make sure you report the incident to your human resources department. If that doesn't stop the discrimination, report it to an agency such as the EEOC that can investigate it further and contact an experienced employment attorney who can help you pursue your legal rights.
- Don't Accept Retaliation: A number of employers tend to retaliate against employees who file discrimination complaints. It is against the law to retaliate against employees in this manner. Contact an experienced discrimination lawyer who can help protect your rights every step of the way.
How Much Compensation Will I Receive for a Discrimination Case?
Employees who have been victims of discrimination can seek compensation for damages and losses they have suffered as a result of the discriminatory acts and behavior such as:
- Back Pay: Employees who have been subject to discrimination can claim compensation for lost pay because they were fired illegally (due to discrimination) or because they were forced to quit their jobs due to a hostile work environment. Back pay in such cases could include lost wages, benefits such as medical insurance, pension accounts, stock options, bonuses, tips, etc.
- Compensatory Damages: This might include out-of-pocket expenses caused by the discrimination such as costs associated with a job search or medical expenses. Compensatory damages could also include mental anguish and loss of life's enjoyment.
- Punitive Damages: In some cases, where the discrimination was particularly egregious, courts may award punitive damages to make an example of the employer and to deter others from engaging in similar behavior.
- Attorneys' Fees: In addition to these other damages, a plaintiff in a workplace discrimination fee may also be able to receive compensation for attorneys' fees and court costs associated with the case.
Contact Our Experienced Lawyers Today
If you have been discriminated against at work, our Los Angeles discrimination lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley can help you better understand your legal rights and options. We are passionate in our pursuit of justice for our clients and will fight for your rights every step of the way.