California Discrimination Law Attorneys for the LGBT Community
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What is Employment Discrimination?
People may be unhappy at work for many reasons. It is important to know and understand your rights if you are being harassed at work. Discrimination against individuals can take many forms. If you feel you have been discriminated against, it is imperative to consult a Pride Legal Employment Discrimination Lawyer today.
Employment discrimination includes discriminating against employees or potential employees on the basis of race, sex, religion, nationality, age, and physical and mental disability. Employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is also a developing body of law. Laws against employment discrimination apply to all steps of the employment process such as interviewing, hiring, advertising, promoting, and terminating employees. Fortunately, California has some of the strongest non-discrimination laws in the U.S., including laws that specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identification and gender expression in the workplace. While this is good news to the members of the gay community, the mere presence of laws does not stop workplace discrimination from occurring.
Do I Have a Viable Harassment Claim?
There are several ways to have a viable harassment claim. At the very least, someone’s conduct must violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There are a variety of other state and federal laws. These laws make it illegal to target someone based on a protected class.
If you can answer “Yes” to any of the following questions, you should talk to a Pride Legal attorney. You may have a viable legal claim.
Are you facing harassment based on your…
- Gender identification?
- Gender expression?
- Sexual orientation?
- HIV Status?
- National origin?
- Political beliefs?
- Religious beliefs?
- Physical or mental disability?
- Marital status?
- Veteran status?
- Reporting illegal activity?
- Paternity or maternity leave?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is a federal agency. This agency enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It does, in part, depend on where you live if you have a legal case. That is because every State’s case law varies on what makes up a hostile work environment. Federal law does not distinguish bullying and harassment in the workplace.
How to Protect Yourself from Employment Discrimination
Follow these steps if you believe you are being harassed or discriminated based on your protected class.
1. Take notes.
Keep notes and a list of the events which occurred. Remember to dictate when it happened, where it happened, what happened, and who was there. Write down the names of witnesses. It may also help to save all electronic and paper trails related to your case.
2. Keep your employer’s code of conduct handy.
Review your employer’s code of conduct or company handbook. Your company must address what activity or behavior violates company policy.
3. Contact the company helpline.
You can usually find the procedure for reporting in the company handbook. You may then report a harassment claim or a hostile work environment.
4. Protection from retaliation.
If you work for a company with 15 or more people, you may have legal protections from retaliation. But, you must put your claim in writing or go to straight to a decision-maker. You may inform you believe you are the “subject of harassment against a protected class.” The fact that you report it protects you by law, even if what you faced is not deemed harassment. This protection may not apply to you if you work for a company with less than 15 people. Check your state law or speak to a Pride Legal attorney today.
5. Make your claim quickly.
EEOC claims are time-dependent. You have a narrow time frame in order to file a claim with the EEOC. If you miss that window, you will lose your right to sue under federal law.
Other specific examples in which discrimination can occur include:
- Hiring policy
- Promotion policy
- Harassment, including sexual harassment
- Equal compensation
- Public accommodation
- Service at retailers
- Access to medical care
- Lending and credit
- And others
The Importance of California’s Progressive Discrimination Laws
California has enacted some of the strongest anti-discrimination legislation in the United States. This includes progressive protections for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and inter-gender communities.
These laws protect from other forms of discrimination as well. Including discrimination in employment, housing, accessing government services, and participating in state-funded activities.
California’s hate crime laws also afford protection for the state’s LGBT communities.
And yet, these protective laws do not end the occurrence of discrimination. People can be intolerant and biased against a certain group of people. Other cases occur because people are not educated about what is and is not legal. it can be difficult to sort out the specifics about what exactly is and isn’t discrimination. That is because anti-discrimination laws are not consistent from state-to-state.
Discrimination can affect a person’s self-confidence, self-image, and mental health. Discrimination, in any form, affects the individual and the health of society as a whole. Our nation was founded on the promise of equality. As Will Rogers famously said, “We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.”
If you or someone you know has faced some form of discrimination, you can act to protect your rights. Whether it be in the workplace. Whether it be at a store. When attempting to secure housing. Or even when applying for some type of service or loan. Contact Pride Legal for a free and confidential consultation. Our professional and experienced discrimination lawyers will help you in safeguarding your rights. You may be entitled to some form of compensation. It all, of course, depends on the circumstances of your case.
Do I have to file a complaint with HR before filing a lawsuit?
Depending on the given situation, you may or may not need to go through Human Resources before filing a lawsuit. Typically, it is wise to contact HR for all complaints while working at a company. If you feel discriminated against as an applicant for a position, it may be unnecessary to contact HR before filing a lawsuit. Keeping a detailed record of HR complaints may strengthen your case.
Is my employer responsible for a coworker’s misconduct?
Generally, the employer is responsible if
- The employer was aware of misconduct AND
- did not take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment from occurring
The basis of your lawsuit is primarily focused on who is responsible for such misconduct. If the employer was either unaware of harassment or was aware and took all proper steps to prevent it from occurring, the employer may not be liable.
Can I be fired for filing a lawsuit against my employer?
No, California employees cannot be fired for filing a civil lawsuit against their employers, co-workers, etc. If your employer does fire you for filing a lawsuit against them, this can be considered wrongful termination.
If I was never hired, is my case still considered to be employment discrimination?
Discrimination law also covers job applicants who have been harassed or discriminated against. An employer may be held liable for asking a job applicant improper questions, such as questioning the applicants:
- Sexual orientation
- Mental or physical disability
- Marital status
- Arrest record
What can be money damages in an employment discrimination lawsuit?
In a California employment discrimination lawsuit, the following may be considered money damages:
- Losses of front pay
- Back wages
- Reduced income from a demotion or promotion
- Pension benefits
- Loss of bonus payments
- Emotional distress or suffering
Find a California Discrimination Lawyer for the Gay Community
At Pride Legal, we are confident that one of the highly skilled lawyers in our network can be especially helpful for members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or inter-gender communities, as well as the community at large. Our member attorneys provide services to clients throughout Southern California, including Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange Counties. We will find the right discrimination lawyers for your particular case. In fact, Pride Legal can provide you with access to the attorney you need for any legal issue.
Are you the victim of discrimination? If so, contact a California LGBT Discrimination Attorney today!
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