This blog is a continuation of the Employment Law FAQ series. If you would like to read Part 1 of the series, click here.

What Classes, or Characteristics, Are Protected by Law?

In all 50 states, federal law protects the following classes, or characteristics, from employment discrimination:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions)
  • Disability
  • Age (40 and older)
  • Citizenship status
  • Genetic information

California state law includes additional protected classes, which are as follows:

  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation and identity
  • Medical condition
  • Political activities or affiliations
  • Military or veteran status
  • Status as a victim of domestic violence, assault, or stalking

What Can I Do If I Experience Discrimination at Work?

Use your company’s internal mechanism for reporting, investigating and remedying any wrongdoing in the workplace, if applicable. If this fails, you may file a formal claim with either the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You must file a claim with one of these agencies before filing a civil lawsuit based on same or similar claims. Also, you only have one year from the discriminatory event to file a DFEH claim and 300 days to file an EEOC claim.

Visit the websites of the EEOC and the DFEH for more info.

Do All Workers Have the Same Rights?

No. Whether an employment or labor law applies to a worker can be determined by a variety of factors, including the following:

  • Classification as employee or independent contractor
  • Number of workers hired by employer
  • Job is government position

Please note: contrary to popular misconception, undocumented workers receive much of the same employment law protections afforded to citizen workers. For instance, undocumented workers cannot be paid less than the minimum wage.

It is highly advised that you discuss your case with an experienced employment law attorney to determine whether your employer’s actions are in fact illegal.

Best Employment Lawyers in California

If you have experienced unfair treatment at the workplace, call Wilshire Law Firm today at (213) 805-8549. We can provide you with a full understanding of your rights and best legal options in a FREE consultation.