Schedule Your Free Case Evaluation

Workplace Discrimination Examples in California

Emanuel Shirazi

Discrimination, in any form, is painful to experience. When those experiences occur in the workplace, it can make life even more difficult. It creates an unwelcoming environment for those who are simply trying to earn a living for themselves and their families. Whether confronted with discriminatory acts, verbiage, or treatment, no employer should allow these behaviors to infiltrate the culture of their employees.

Understanding what workplace discrimination is and how it manifests itself can help you hold employers who allow such behaviors to persist accountable.

Understanding the Law

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act has specific definitions for workplace discrimination. Employees who are members of a protected class are entitled to work in a place of business that is free from derogatory, humiliating, or harmful words and actions by their colleagues and employers. Protected classes include:

Discriminatory Acts

While it may seem easy enough to spot signs of discrimination in the workplace, it can often be hidden under the guise of a “joke” or an inadvertent action. There are, however, warning signs that you or a coworker may be the victim of discrimination. Examples include:

  • A sudden change in job performance: If you are consistently performing at a high level for the company and receiving positive performance reviews, it feels good. However, if you suddenly find yourself receiving poor reviews and your work ethic or quality of work has not declined, it could be a sign that other factors are motivating the reviews.
  • You are purposely excluded from meetings that pertain to your job: If, for instance, the head of your department calls for a meeting to discuss upcoming metrics, it would make sense that you should attend. In this example, you are a woman and are not invited to the meeting. You later notice that only male employees from your department attended the meeting. This could indicate discrimination.
  • Your workload suddenly changes, or you are assigned additional duties beyond the scope of your assigned job: While most employers leave clauses in work agreements that say, “other duties as assigned,” they must be within reason, and you must be trained on how to complete the job. If your workload has increased beyond justification, or you are being asked to complete tasks that you are not trained to do without support, it could indicate discriminatory acts designed to hurt your job performance.
  • Employees from various backgrounds are subjected to different rules: In a workplace, all employees should be treated fairly and equally. What is permissible for one is permissible for all. Favoritism or unequal rule enforcement can demonstrate a bias toward certain groups while causing harm to others.
  • The employer is screening applications: If an employer has specific screening methodologies that appear to eliminate applicants with “ethnic” sounding names or to favor those fresh out of college over those with experience, these could be indicators of both ethnic and age discrimination.

These are just a few of the examples of workplace discrimination that can occur. However, the patterns are the same. An employer uses poor judgment and purposely alienates others based on some protected characteristic.

How to Handle Workplace Discrimination

If you experience workplace discrimination, it is important to document as much evidence as you can. This includes:

  • Witness statements
  • Emails
  • Text messages
  • Conversations
  • Videos
  • Photos

With this evidence, it is important to notify your employer of the disparities that are occurring. Before a civil claim can be filed, an employer must be given the opportunity to correct the situation. These conversations can be difficult, and employees may fear that they may be retaliated against. However, there are laws that protect against this type of behavior as well.

If an employer fails to address the concerns in an appropriate and thorough way, then they may face a civil claim by one or more employees. In any claim, it must be proven that the employer knew or should have known the discrimination was occurring. It must also be proven that they did not act immediately, thoroughly, or completely to address the concerns.

FAQs About Workplace Discrimination Examples in California

What Is Considered Discrimination in the Workplace in California?

Any behavior, action, or words that are directed toward an employee or colleague based on a protected characteristic of the employee are considered discrimination. This includes both intentional and unintentional conduct, such as a job-related directive or a joke made in the breakroom. Saying it was a joke is not an acceptable defense.

What Are the New Labor Laws for 2022 in California?

There are several new labor laws for 2022. Included amongst them are additional phase-ins of the minimum wage, which is dictated in Senate Bill 3. This raises the minimum wage for large employers to $15 per hour and for smaller businesses to $14 per hour. A large business is defined as any company that employs 26 or more employees.

What Is the Minimum Wage in California?

Beginning on January 1, 2024, the minimum wage in California will increase from $15 per hour to $15.50 per hour for all employees. However, if the local city or county ordinance has determined a higher rate of pay, then employers are required to pay that higher rate to their employees.

What Constitutes Discrimination in California?

Discrimination is the purposeful mistreatment of others based on protected classifications such as:
– Race
– Ethnicity
– Sexual orientation
– Age (over 40)
– Identified gender
– Abilities or disabilities
Everyone has a right to be treated fairly and equally by employers, places of business, and in their daily lives. If you believe that you may have been discriminated against at work, you should consult an employment discrimination attorney.

Contact Employment Discrimination Attorneys in California

If you or someone you know is the potential victim of employment discrimination, it is important to seek help to be sure that your rights are protected and that you are treated fairly through the reporting process. At the Shirazi Law Firm, P.C., our team of attorneys has the experience and knowledge to help you navigate your workplace discrimination claim. Contact us today.

Recent Posts