Discrimination and Harassment
DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT
California has the strongest protections for disabled workers in the country. An employee’s disability, whether temporary or permanent, cannot be a motivating factor in a termination decision. If an employee can do the job with a reasonable modification of the job duties or conditions, the employer is required to grant that accommodation. If an employee requires a medical leave, his or her job and benefits have significant protections. Furthermore, discrimination claims can come from prejudice based on perceived or actual disability.
This means that, in many cases, an employer's perception of their employee's disability is what causes discrimination, and is therefore grounds for a case. It is not an issue of whether or not the disability in question actually prevents the employee from doing their job properly.
RACE DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT
Los Angeles is home to every race and nationality on the planet. Unfortunately, some managers still operate based on subtle or not-so-subtle stereotypes. Showing bias in this type of case usually involves closely examining a manager’s conduct and thoughts about particular employees.
SEX AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT
Sexual harassment can occur when an employer or supervisor makes sexual advances toward an employee in exchange for some benefit. Also, sexual harassment may consist of intimidation, ridicule, taunting, touching, and groping of an employee by a supervisor or co-worker resulting in a hostile work environment. An employer is liable for the sexual harassment committed by a co-worker if the supervisor knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take immediate corrective action. However, an employer is considered to be strictly liable—liable without finding fault—if a supervisor commits the harassment.
Furthermore, gender characteristics such as pregnancy and child-care responsibilities are protected from use in employment decisions.
Building a successful discrimination case in this area typically involves showing that comments made by a discriminating manager are biased or that the manager treated employees differently in pay and/or assignments.
Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace:
How do I Tell the Difference?
Workplace bullying is a problem that each of us will likely face at one time or another. At work you may be the victim of behavior that feels like harassment, and we might colloquially call it harassment, but it doesn't fit the legal definintion of harassment. If this distinction seems arbitrary, it's because it is. Civil law is designed to arbitrate issues between disputing parties and must, therefore, draw a hard line between what is legal and illegal. If you are experiencing what seems like workplace harassment, but if what's happening to you doesn't meet the definitions outlined below, then there is no reason to give up hope there are still a number of resources available to help you.
Here are a few available online:
If you are the victim of bullying in the workplace, bring your concerns to the company HR department immediately, if you voice your concerns promptly, calmly, and firmly, then it is more likely they will not go unnoticed. State to your HR department and your supervisor your concerns about the effects of workplace bullying on comapny morale and productivity. Then suggest an update to company policy and guidelines that will address your concerns. If you communicate with upper management that yours is a serious problem, they will be more likely to address it and make some changes.
The key differnce between workplace bullying and harassment in the workplace, then, is that harassment is a kind of discrimination. Under California labor law, harassment is illegal when it is part of a pattern of discrimination against a worker who falls under a "protected class" specified by California's Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Federal Civil Rights Act. Unlawful harassment is severe and pervasive negative treatment that creates a hostile work environment and is based on a certain protected class.Classes protected from discrimination and harassment include age, race, national origin sex, sexual orientation, gender, disability, pregnancy, and religion.
AGE DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT
Anyone over 40 can be the subject of discrimination against older workers. Age discrimination, not unlike disability discrimination can occur based on actual or perceived impairments. A supervisor may choose to discriminate against older employees based on the false perception that employees become less able to do their job as they age. Building a successful age discrimination case usually requires demonstrating that those perceptions played a significant role in a termination decision.
Sometimes supervisors will try to force older employees out of a job because they want to hire someone younger who would theoretically do the job for less money. Another tactic that employers use to their advantage is to take responsibilities away from a senior employee, or change his/her work duties, making it difficult or impossible to advance in the employees chosen career path.
On the flip side, employers sometimes overwhelm older employees with new responsibilities or random schedule changes in an effort to 'prove' that the senior employee is incapable of handling the job. Superviosrs may use theset tactics in combination with other kinds of harassment in order to force certain employees into early resignation or a premature retirement.