In California, unless being a member/not a member of a particular group is a “bona fide occupational qualification,” it is against the law for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on any of the following characteristics.
- Skin color
- Sexual orientation
- National origin
- Physical disability
- Mental disability
- Medical condition
- Marital status
- Age (if 40 or older)
- Genetic information
- Gender identity
- Gender expression
- Having gone through bankruptcy or having one’s spouse go through bankruptcy
- Refusing to sign a release of medical records. However, an employer may take necessary action based on the lack of required information. For example, a school district could refuse to put a teacher to work until they have medical clearance that that person does not have tuberculosis.
Types of Discrimination Claims
Intentional Discrimination Claims:
- Disparate treatment discrimination, where evidence demonstrates that an employer treats specific employees differently based on their protected characteristic.
- Pattern and practice discrimination, where evidence of a pattern of discriminatory treatment by an employer is used to demonstrate intentional discrimination against a group of job applicants and/or employees based on their shared protected characteristic.
Disparate Impact Claims:
In disparate impact claims, it is not necessary to prove that the employer intentionally discriminated against a job applicant/employee/former employee on the basis of their protected characteristic(s). It is only necessary to prove that the employer employed policies or practices that while not overtly discriminatory, disproportionately negatively affected a group of people with a protected characteristic.
Proving Discrimination Claims
Discrimination is hard to prove. If you suspect that you are being discriminated against you should be careful to save any notes, emails, documents, keep lists of possible witnesses with contact info, etc. and when possible speak with a quality attorney regarding your possible claim. Call the Clayton Perry Law Office For Injured Workers for a free consultation at 1-800-824-2983.