Orange County Workplace Discrimination Attorney
No employee should ever have to put up with discrimination in the workplace. Unfortunately, workplace discrimination is a persistent problem in California. At Sessions & Kimball, we are standing by to help if you need an Orange County workplace discrimination attorney by your side. Our team has extensive knowledge of employment discrimination laws, and we know what it takes to stand up for your rights and recover any compensation you may be entitled to. We will not hesitate to go up against your employer or aggressive legal teams to ensure you are properly cared for.
Why Choose Sessions & Kimball for Your Claim?
- At Sessions & Kimball, we have been practicing employment law since 1985, and we know what it takes to stand up for the rights of employees in Orange County.
- When you contact our team, we collaborate as a firm so you are not hiring just one attorney – you are hiring all of us.
- We focus on providing a client-centered approach to employment law cases, which means that we will always call you back and treat you the way that we would want our own family members to be treated.
Types of Workplace Discrimination
Workplace discrimination can occur in a wide variety of ways and is defined at the federal level by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and at the state level by the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment (DFHE). Both of these agencies tend to mirror one another with the types of discrimination that workers are protected from in the workplace. Here, we want to briefly define some of the most common types of employment discrimination that occur in Orange County.
- Age discrimination. Employers are not generally permitted to discriminate against any individual aged 40 and older. This includes discrimination based on age in advertisements for positions, during the interview or application process, when reducing the size of work staff, or when considering promotions.
- Gender and orientation discrimination. In California, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a person based on their gender or sexual orientation, or based on assumptions of their gender or sexual orientation. This includes discrimination during the application or hiring process as well as while a person is employed (termination, promotion, benefits, etc.). This employment law protects workers who identify or are perceived as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender.
- Pregnancy discrimination. California law requires most employers to provide employees with various rights related to pregnancy. This includes the right to pregnancy disability leave, paid health insurance, the right to reinstatement after maternity leave, breastfeeding rights in the workplace, as well as reasonable accommodations for the duration of the pregnancy.
- Race discrimination. The Civil Rights Act implemented Title VII, and this prohibits employers from discriminating against workers or applicants based on race. This includes making decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions regarding race, ancestry, color, and other features.
- Religious discrimination. This type of discrimination refers to treating employees differently because of their religion, due to their religious practices, or their request for an accommodation based on their religious beliefs or practices.
- Marital status discrimination. This refers to when a person is treated unfairly or bullied in the workplace because of their marital status or assumed marital status. It is unlawful to treat someone differently in the workplace based on the fact or assumption that they are single, married, widowed, divorced, or separated.
- Nationality discrimination. Individuals often confuse race discrimination with discrimination based on nationality, but these are two separate things. It is entirely possible for a person of another nationality to be of the same race as the majority of the employees in a workspace but still be discriminated against based on their country or area of origin. This is also illegal discrimination.
- Disability discrimination. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employees with disabilities are generally protected from discrimination in the workplace. This affects individuals who have qualified disabilities, and prohibits discrimination based on hiring, firing, compensation, promotion, benefits, training, or other aspects of employment. Employees with disabilities are generally allowed certain accommodations, so long as the accommodations do not significantly affect the operation of the business.
Disparate Treatment and Disparate Impact
Both the EEOC and the DFHE prohibit workplace discrimination, but how exactly does an employee experience discrimination in the workplace? Does this include dirty looks from coworkers or supervisors, or is there some type of specific treatment that is prohibited?
The laws enforced at the federal and state level protect employees from discrimination when it involves:
- Unfair treatment. Unfair treatment can mean many different things in the workplace, particularly when it comes to issues of discrimination. This can include forcing a person to work undesirable shifts, giving a person faulty equipment when everyone else gets new equipment, leaving a person out of social events or email chains, and more.
- Harassment. Harassment can take many forms in the workplace. In some cases, harassment is subtle, but there are times when it can be overt. For example, rumors can get started in the workplace about a person’s gender orientation, and this could be considered subtle harassment. However, leaving a noose on a person’s desk is an overt type of harassment. Workplace harassment can also include using demeaning language or creating a hostile environment in an effort to get a person to quit.
- Denial of reasonable workplace changes. This can include failing to make reasonable accommodations for an employee with a disability, accommodations to help a pregnant employee, or accommodations for a person’s religious beliefs.
- Denial of promotions, benefits, or training. One of the most common ways that discrimination shows up in the workplace is workers being denied promotions, benefits, or training opportunities that are available to others.
- Improper questions. This type of employment discrimination includes asking improper questions or disclosures about individual workers’ genetic information or medical conditions.
- Retaliation. Workplace retaliation can occur in a variety of ways and is often due to a person filing a complaint with a supervisor or regulatory agency regarding discriminatory practices in the workplace. Retaliation can include outright termination, the denial of benefits or promotions, for further harassment in the workplace.
How to Document and Prove Workplace Discrimination
Proving workplace discrimination can be challenging. As we mentioned above, actual discrimination can be difficult to detect, particularly if the discrimination is subtle. However, even overt employment discrimination can be hard to prove, particularly when it comes to pinning down who is actually responsible for the discrimination.
There are various ways that an employee can work to prove that they have suffered from discrimination in an Orange County workplace.
- Physical evidence. This includes all physical documentation of the discrimination. This might be written letters, text messages, emails, voice recordings, and more. This can also include any type of handwritten threat or object used to convey discrimination.
- Indirect evidence. Indirect evidence is anything that is not actually physical. However, this can also be harder to obtain. Most employers you are aware that they are discriminating against are also well aware that it is illegal, and they are less likely to provide physical evidence.
The good news is that you do not necessarily need physical evidence in order to prove that discrimination has occurred in the workplace. If you are a member of a protected class under state or federal law, qualified for your position, and have had an adverse reaction taken against you, you and your attorney may be able to make a case that discrimination has occurred. There is no certain “amount” or type of evidence needed to prove these cases, so it is best to collect any possible evidence and bring it to your attorney so they can sort through it and move your case forward.
If you believe that you have been discriminated against in the workplace, we strongly encourage you to write down everything that has happened, preferably with the dates that the discriminatory actions occurred. If there are any witnesses to the discrimination, we encourage you to let your attorney know so these individuals can be asked to give testimony to back up your claim.
California Statute of Limitations
It can be challenging to understand how long individuals have to file workplace discrimination claims, and this is mainly due to the fact that these cases can be handled at both the federal and state level. These claims are guided by two separate laws that, coincidentally, intersect when filing a claim.
If a discrimination case is pursued with the EEOC at the federal level, then it must be filed within 180 days from the date of the alleged discrimination violation in the workplace. However, this 180-day statute of limitations can be extended to 300 days if the charge is covered by California or a local municipal anti-discrimination law in place. In this state, individuals who are discriminated against in the workplace can also seek recourse from the DFEH, as we mentioned above. If the DFEH or the EEOC does not complete their investigation, then they will issue a “right to sue” letter to the employee. After this letter is issued, the individual will have 90 days to file a discrimination lawsuit in civil court against the employer.
We strongly encourage you to contact an attorney as soon as you know you have been discriminated against in the workplace. These cases need to proceed forward at a rather rapid pace in order to make sure that all deadlines are met. Failing to file a claim with the proper regulatory agency or with the civil court system on time will result in the employee being unable to recover compensation for their losses.
What Compensation Can You Receive for These Claims?
Individuals who are discriminated against in the workplace may be able to recover various types of compensation by filing a claim or a lawsuit against their employer in Orange County. The types of compensation available to those discriminated against will vary, and there are several factors that can affect compensation amounts. Some of the most common types of compensation available to individuals who have been discriminated against in the workplace include the following:
- Lost wages. Individuals may be able to recover compensation for any wages they lose due to employment discrimination in Orange County. This can include compensation a person does not earn because they were wrongfully terminated and wages they were unable to earn because they were not promoted because of discrimination or retaliation. The total amount of pay a person receives will vary depending on several factors, including whether or not a person was able to regain employment elsewhere, how quickly they were able to regain employment, whether their new wage is comparable, and other factors.
- Lost benefits. Individuals who are discriminated against in the workplace are often not able to earn the same types of benefits that other workers are allowed. This could be due to wrongful termination or denied promotions. Establishing the last value here can be challenging, and it is important to examine various factors, including 401K plans, stock options, dental or medical benefits, and more.
- Emotional and psychological distress. Individuals who face discrimination in the workplace can suffer from a range of pain and suffering damages. This can include emotional and psychological distress caused by the circumstances surrounding the discriminatory practices.
- Attorney fees. Individuals may be able to recover court costs and legal fees from the employer.
Call an Orange Country Workplace Discrimination Attorney Today
If you or somebody you love has experienced workplace discrimination in Orange County, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. At Sessions & Kimball, our employment law experts have the resources necessary to fully investigate every aspect of your claim. We want to make sure that you recover total compensation for your losses caused by the discrimination you have experienced at work. We will not hesitate to stand up to aggressive employers or their legal teams.
When you need an Orange County workplace discrimination attorney, contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling us at (949) 674-0630.