California Employment Discrimination Lawyers
Feeling discriminated against at work is terrible. No one wants to feel like that in a workplace. We want to help you get justice. You don’t deserve to have your life be like this. Call us right away for a free consultation.
Here are some signs that indicate that you might be dealing with discrimination at work.
Lack of Diversity
You might be able to notice this just by walking into the office. Discrimination is not always present if there is a lack of diversity, but it can be an indicator. The demographic might be all straight, white males in the same age and wealth bracket. If you don’t fit in that demographic, this could create an environment that might foster discrimination against you.
Are all of the top positions given to men, while the women are not given those opportunities? If a more qualified woman is a secretary while a less-qualified male is a manager, that could be an indicator.
Problems with Promotions
When someone less qualified than you gets promoted, that might be discrimination. Getting passed over time and time again is likely an indicator to look into who is getting picked over you. If you are consistently more qualified, then you might be facing discrimination.
How Coworkers Communicate
The way people talk to you is important. No one wants to be treated badly, and communication is a huge way people discriminate. It’s not always about what they say, but how they say it. If you are always getting talked down to or belittled, that could be discriminatory. It’s especially true if you are on the receiving end of jokes made about your race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or age.
How Much Work You Get
You might be a target of discrimination if your workload is changing in a way that negatively affects you. If you get accounts taken away from you, causing you to lose out, that could be an indicator. Or, if you get a heap of work given to you that is impossible to get done, that might be your boss getting ready to build a case to fire you. All of which is discrimination.
If you are getting disciplined for things that don’t make sense or are unfair, that could be your boss trying to create evidence to point to a reason for firing you.
Filing an Employment Discrimination Claim
It is in your best interest to keep records of everything that is happening to you. Collecting evidence will benefit you. You want to a keep log of incidents when they come up. They might look a little like this:
“March 31st, 2019 at 2:30pm Kevin followed me into the break room and made jokes about my religion.”
Keep a copy of your emails you sent out to HR or supervisors. Keep copies of their responses. This will be very helpful evidence down the line. You want to present your claim as organized as possible.
The more organized you are, the better. It will make your California employment discrimination lawyer’s jobs easier to do.
Tips for a Strong Claim
There really is a lot you can do to make sure you have a successful claim. We want to assure that you are well-educated before moving forward.
- Be vigilant. These cases can really be challenging. You don’t want to assume that your boss is going to help you through your complaints. Sometimes people let your complaints fall to the wayside. They determine that it is easier for them to not take action on your case. It’s your job to remind them that you deserve attention. Going to a California employment discrimination lawyer is one way to do it.
- Be aggressive. You need people to take you seriously, whether that be your supervisor or the EEOC themselves. You should bring your case to their attention and don’t let them forget about you. Get a lawyer to help you to assert yourself.
- Read your employee handbook. Make sure you know exactly what your employee handbook says. Be thorough and deliberate about what you do. You may have plenty of options to explore when it comes to dealing with discrimination. Make sure you utilize all of these options. You can go to the EEOC if you exhaust all of your options and your employer does nothing to rectify the situation. That is one option. Or you can come to us start the process of a lawsuit against your employer. We are more than happy to help you through this.
Please take action if you are being discriminated against.
Frequently Asked Employment Discrimination Questions
How do I choose the right attorney for my workplace discrimination claim?
I had a nice conversation yesterday with a potential client who asked what she should look for in a law firm helping her in a discrimination case here in California. We had a great conversation. It lasted more than 30 minutes. I talked to her about what type of firm I think that she needs.
We really boiled it down to three things. I talked to her about the fact that first of all, you want to find a firm that has the expertise. I really do think it’s important that you find a firm that only does some type of employment law and that they are well versed in the interchange between various California labor statute and employment statutes. The first issue is finding a firm that has deep knowledge of California employment law.
The second issue we talked about is whether or not the law firm is well funded or has the resources to make sure that your claim is followed through all the way to the end. It’s important to have a firm that has the resources to make sure that depositions are taken, documents are produced, and your issues are advocated to the full extent.
The third issue is actually finding a law firm that truly has trial experience. You’d be surprised how many times somebody calls themselves a trial attorney or a civil litigator, but in fact have never argued a case in front of a jury. The reality is, when you hire an attorney, you don’t actually know whether or not they actually have trial experience. Truth be told, there are a group of individuals who do know, and that’s the defense attorneys. They’ll know whether or not the attorney that you hired has ever tried a case. It’s important for you to find an attorney that has true trial experience that feels comfortable in front of a jury and that can advocate for you.
I’m not saying all cases go to trial; in fact, most cases don’t go to trial. In order for cases to settle and settle for a number that you feel good about, however, it’s important for the other side to know that if they don’t settle, and push comes to shove, you have attorneys that will go try a case for you. If you have any questions about a discrimination case that you feel that you may have against your current employer or former employer and you just want to talk about what you should look for in a trial attorney, feel free to give me a call. I’m always happy to discuss what claims you may have and what type of attorney you may need.
What should I do if I’m being discriminated against at work because of my pregnancy?
Every year, we have the privilege of representing women and men who have found out the fantastic news that they’re about to have a baby or that they just had a baby. Unfortunately, a lot of times when they call us, it’s them calling us because it hasn’t been great news for their employer. As I’m sure you’re well aware, an employer in California can’t retaliate against an employee for being pregnant; in fact, an employer can’t retaliate against an employee for their spouse being pregnant. Under California law, not only can’t they retaliate against you for a pregnancy, both women and men have rights as it relates to the childbirth, including extended leave for recovery from childbirth. This also includes leave related to exams coming up to childbirth, and it includes leave related to disabilities as a result of either the pregnancy or the childbirth.
If you have questions about the reaction or choices that your employer made as a result of a pregnancy, it’s important for you to understand that you have rights and that you talk to an attorney to explain those rights to you. If I can answer any of those questions, feel free to give me a call. I’m happy to discuss what rights you may have as it relates to your employer. By the way, congratulations on the baby.
How should I go about filing a gender discrimination claim if I have been discriminated at work because of my gender?
One issue that sometimes comes up is the issue of discrimination based on gender and/or sex, in which the employer is making a decision as to what positions the employee can hold based off of the gender or sex of the employee. I remember early on when this firm was founded 12 years ago, we took on a case of a woman who was a bartender. She enjoyed being a bartender; she found that she made more money as a bartender. That’s truly what she enjoyed doing.
She applied for a position at a bar in San Bernardino. She was told that women were only allowed to be hostesses or cocktail waitresses and that, if she wanted a position, those were the two options that was available to her. She explained to me, as she explained to them, that she wasn’t a hostess and that she wasn’t a cocktail waitress but that she was a bartender, and that she had the expertise and the knowledge to be a bartender. The employer after hearing that told her flat out the only positions we offer women are hostesses and cocktail waitresses. She didn’t take the position.
When she had come to me, she had already filed a claim with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. They were trying to get her to take a settlement that was what I considered very low. While I can’t get into all the details as to what that case ultimately resolved for, I will say that it was multiple times more than what was being offered to her in front of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. If you feel that you’ve been subject to gender discrimination either in the assignments you are being given, promotional opportunities you are being given, or in your pay, it’s important for you to understand that you do have rights and that you should talk to an attorney. If I can answer any of those questions, feel free to give me a call.
How do I know if I have a gender discrimination claim?
One issue that comes up often is the fact that there are some employees that are receiving preferential treatment versus other employees. Typically, we’ll get a call from an individual that says that they’re being treated differently at work and they’re trying to figure out why. Sometimes, it’s a woman that feels that the men in the office are given better assignments or better leads or a woman believes that her title and her job responsibilities are just the same as male counterparts, but she believes, or she knows, or she suspects that they actually receive more money than her for doing the same type of work.
There’s other times in which people feel that, because of their race, they’re being treated differently than everybody else. This might involve compensation, promotional opportunities, or just be the type of work that’s actually being assigned. Discrimination in California is unlawful assuming it’s based off of a protected class: gender, race, national origin, sexual orientation. Also, they can’t discriminate or retaliate against you because you complained about not being treated fairly at work.
If you’ve worked for a company or you’re currently working for a company and you feel that you’re being subject to discrimination or you’ve been retaliated against because you’ve complained about discrimination, it’s important for you to find a law firm that can answer your questions and represent you if you make a decision to file a lawsuit. If you have any questions regarding discrimination in the workplace for whatever reason or retaliation for complaining about discrimination in the workplace, feel free to give me a call. I am happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding those issues.
What is important to know about the Americans with Disabilities Act?
Often, we get phone calls regarding employees that have questions about the ADA, also known as the American Disabilities Act. The ADA is actually a Federal law. It’s a Federal law that was passed to protect individuals with disabilities, both for work issues and non-work issues. While many people know or have heard of the ADA, it’s also important to know that for disabled employees in California there’s another statute called the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The Fair Employment and Housing Act protects employees who have been disabled, either at work or away from work. Now, the issue as to what’s a disability under the Fair Employment and Housing Act is a little bit of a different standard than under the ADA, so it’s important for you to hire an attorney or to find an attorney that can make a distinction between the ADA and the Fair Employment Housing Act, also known as FEHA.
A lot of times in the employment setting for a disability claim under FEHA, an employee either has been injured at work and come back with work restrictions or has work restrictions for a non-work related injury. What happens is the employer is presented with a doctor’s note that says that either for a short period of time or for a long period of time an employee can’t do a certain task. By the time that they contact us or reach out to a law firm, it’s because the employers made the decision that, as a result of the work restrictions, they can’t accommodate the employee; as a result, they terminate the employee or they prevent the employee from doing certain aspects of their job that they know that they can do.
If you’ve received work restrictions for a work-related injury or a non-work related injury, it’s important for you to understand that under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, just like under the ADA, you have rights. You have the right to continue working for your employer, as long as it’s not an undue burden on the employer. It’s important for you to understand under what circumstances the employer has to accommodate you so you can continue working. If you have questions regarding the ADA, the Fair Employment and Housing Act, or just questions about the fact that a doctor has given you restrictions and those restrictions are causing problems at work, it’s important for you to talk to an attorney about that. If you have any questions, feel free to give me a call and we can discuss.
What if my employer doesn’t accommodate my disability?
One of the main types of cases we take are cases in which an employee is given work restrictions that require accommodation, but, as a result of the work restrictions, the employer isn’t allowing the employee to continue the work. Either the employee is being asked to stay out on leave for an extended period of time, despite the fact that the employee believes that they can work, or the employer has made the decision that as a result of the accommodation request that they have to terminate the employee.
Under California law, it’s extremely important for employees to know that they have rights. The employer has what’s called an affirmative obligation to engage in the interactive process to try and determine whether or not the employee can do their job either with accommodation or without accommodation so that they continue to work for the company. If the employee can’t do their normal customary job, it still doesn’t mean that the employee has to be terminated. If there’s a vacant position within the company, the employee is entitled to that vacant position. It’s important for you to understand that throughout that process, a lot of times the employer doesn’t want somebody there with restrictions, and they’ll throw up roadblocks or come up with excuses or simply just say, “No, you have to be 100% or you can’t come back.” A lot of times that violates the California Fair Employment Housing Act. It’s important for you to find an attorney that is well versed in the Fair Employment Housing Act as it relates to the employer’s obligation to provide an accommodation to permit the employee to continue working. It’s also the employer’s obligation to engage in a good faith and timely interactive process to make sure that the employee can continue working. If you have any questions regarding the employer’s obligation under the Fair Employment Housing Act, or what to do now that you have work restrictions and the employer isn’t returning you back to work, feel free to give me a call. I’m happy to answer any questions that you may have.
What should I do if I have been discriminated against at work because of my age?
Last week, I said goodbye to a client that we’ve been representing for just over a year. This employee had come to me about issues at work that were happening over the last couple of years. The employer had worked for the company for 25 years, and over the last couple of years, after he had 60 years old, his manager kept on asking him when he was going to retire and that maybe it’s time to move on. There were comments about him being slower than he used to be and that maybe the technology had just been moved on and that maybe he should look for something else. When the client complained that he felt like he was being targeted because of his age, he was terminated. Under California law, it’s important to understand that employees that are older have protection. In fact, employees over the age of 40 have protection under California law from age discrimination. Age discrimination can take various forms and have a devastating impact on older employees. If you’ve been working for a company and you feel, whether or not you’ve been working for that company for 20, 30 years or whether or not you’ve been working for them for 4 or 5 years, but things have changed and you believe it’s because of your age, it’s important that you find an attorney that can address those issues, whether or not you continue to work for that company or whether or not you’ve been let go from that company. If you have any questions regarding your employment and those questions involve age or any other issue, make sure that you contact an attorney that has the knowledge and the resources to answer those questions for you. Feel free to give me a call if I can answer those questions for you. Thanks.
Can I file an EEOC claim while still employed by the company?
I received a call yesterday from an employee that was nervous because she was still employed for the company. She had claims that she wanted resolved and issues that she wanted resolved, but she really didn’t want to file a lawsuit, but she just wanted the harassing conduct to stop. She asked me, “What steps should I do if I’m a current employee?”
The steps as a current employee that you should take really do vary depending on the situation and on the employee. What type of risk are you comfortable with? What type of confrontation with a supervisor or co-worker do you feel comfortable with? A lot of times throughout the week I’ll talk to potential clients that are looking for guidance as to what they should do because they are in this type of situation. To some people, they’re scared just to go to Human Resources. They’re scared to say anything. I still have other clients or potential clients who are more than happy to say anything and document and write emails all the way up the chain.
It’s important to note that, while you’re employed, you have rights. There are also various steps you can take to preserve, protect, and exercise your rights. For different employees, the response is different. Just like with different employers, their response to your concerns are different. Sometimes employers do the right thing. A lot of times employers do the right thing. Then there’s those circumstances in which employers just do the wrong thing. It’s in those circumstances, in which they do the wrong thing that you want to make sure you’re protected.
If you’re in a position in which you’re a current employee and you’re wondering what the next step is, I think it’s important for you to talk to an attorney as to the best steps to take in light of your situation. If you have questions as to what the next step should be, feel free to give us a call. I’m always happy to talk to you about what those next steps should be. I look forward to talking to you and helping you. We’re here for you. Just give us a call. Thanks.
Is it illegal for an employee hired after me to earn a higher wage?
I got a call this morning from an employee who noticed that their hourly rate was lower than a co-worker that had just been hired a month before. She had a question as to whether that was lawful. Can you have a long-term employee making less than a current employee? Can an employee get paid less or more than a co-worker? If an employer makes a decision to pay an employee a different rate, the employer always has, theoretically, that right. They just can’t do it for an unlawful reason.
In California, the laws are very clear that you can’t pay a different race, gender, or classification of people a different rate because of that characteristic. We talked about the fact that, as a woman, she felt that she was being paid a rate different than her new male counterpart. In fact, under California law, they’ve recently passed the Equal Pay Act, which protects, specifically, women from being paid less than men in comparable positions.
It’s always interesting when an employer makes a decision to pay new employees more than loyal employees that have been there for years. Unfortunately, in the United States, we have a history that’s not always a history that we can be proud of, and it’s not always a history that’s intentional. Sometimes employees are paid less just because they agreed to less and they negotiated a rate that was less, and that’s really all it is. Other times, it’s intentional discrimination. Whatever the case might be, sometimes that decision to pay more is intentional, and the boss made a calculated decision to pay one group of people less than another group of people. Sometimes it’s unintentional and they didn’t set up to treat people differently, but ultimately do. In California, both intentional and sometimes unintentional discrimination when it comes to pay are both unlawful.
If you feel that you’re being discriminated against because of an unlawful reason, because of who you are or because in the past you’ve complained about certain behavior, and as a result they’re penalizing you by paying you less than your co-workers, it’s important for you to understand that you may have rights, and it’s important for you to address those rights in a timely fashion. Every day that goes by is another argument for the employer to argue that their conduct is lawful. If you have questions regarding whether or not you have rights under California law as a result of being paid less than a co-worker, it’s important for you to talk to a law firm. If that’s our firm, great, give us a call. I’m happy to discuss any issues that you have regarding employment issues here in California. Thanks.
What should I do if my employer is treating me differently than other employees?
Every day I get phone calls from individuals calling seeking advice about the fact that they’re being treated differently at work. They tell me their supervisor or their management team treats them differently than all their other employees, or that they’ve been terminated for something that they did, but that they’ve been treated differently than other employees that were similarly situated. They wonder if these actions constitute discrimination. Under California law, employees are protected from being treated differently for unlawful reasons. Under California law, an employer can’t retaliate against you or discriminate against you based off of unlawful reasons. There’s a lot of unlawful reasons in California that prevents an employer from retaliating against or discriminating against an employee. An employer can’t discriminate against you because of your race, your gender, your age, your sexual orientation, the fact that you have a medical disability, or the fact that you have restrictions as a result of a medical condition. An employer can’t retaliate or discriminate against you because you’ve complained about conduct that you believe is unlawful. An employer can’t retaliate against you because you believe that you’re being subjected to unsafe working conditions. There’s just a lot of different areas of law in which employees are protected from discrimination and retaliation. If you have a question as to whether or not you’re being treated differently at work and whether or not that reason may be unlawful, it’s important for you to talk to an attorney that has experience on those issues. If I can answer any questions regarding any employment issue that you have, including discrimination and retaliation in California, feel free to give me a call. I’m happy to discuss.
What are the damages available in a workplace discrimination claim?
As a trial attorney, one of the issue that we focus on in relation to your claim is your damages. What type of damages we’ll be able to seek and ask a jury for? In California, those damages are typically classified into various buckets. There’s wages from the time of an unlawful discrimination or retaliation through time of trial. Also, there’s front wages. Let’s say you found a new job, but you’re not making as much as you used to, or you found a job making as much as you’re used to but it doesn’t have the health insurance or retirement benefits the old job offered. That has value. You would be asking the jury for all those benefits between the termination or the unlawful conduct through trial, as well as those damages going forward that the jury believes you’re reasonably calculated to have. You’re also entitled to emotional distress resulting from the employer’s unlawful conduct. We’ll ask the jury to compensate you for every minute of emotional distress that you suffered.
For a lot of us, if not all of us, losing a job has an impact more than most people can contemplate until it happens. How are you going to pay for the bills? How are you going to pay for schooling or tutoring for a child? How are you going to cover medical issues that have come up now that you don’t have medical insurance? The stress of waking up at 2 o’clock in the morning and not knowing how you’re going to pay rent or how to pay that mortgage, the frustration of losing a job that you truly did love, and the uncertainty of not having a job have had for you in the past and in the future. All of that damage is called emotional distress. Some employers will also be subject to punitive damages, a damage to truly punish the employer to try and make sure that the employer never does this again to another employee. Those are the damages that would go to you. In addition, the employer, if you go to trial, would be liable for attorney’s fees and costs. Those are the typical damages that are available to employees.
Now, while a lot of cases do settle, not all of them do. It’s important for you to be able to find an attorney that can tell your story, describing the job search that you endured as a result of the employer’s unlawful conduct, the damage that you will suffer in the future, and your emotional distress. It’s important for you to find an attorney to convince the jury that the employer’s conduct has to stop, and if not but for your lawsuit, that the employer will continue doing what they have done to you to other employees in the future. If I can answer any of those questions, please feel free to give me a call. I’m happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Call Our California Employment Discrimination Lawyers Today
Do you suspect that you are getting discriminated against? We want to help you fight back. Call Myers Law Group today for a free consultation.
Follow us on Facebook