The Fair Employment Housing Act in California is the state’s main employment law prohibiting workplace discrimination and retaliation for workers who exercise their rights under FEHA. This law is meant to protect workers against unfair public and private employers, labor organizations and employment agencies.
Identifying a FEHA violation can be easy but can also be difficult. For instance, it could be apparent in the form of wrongful termination or in less subtle ways like being given less desirable work assignments. That’s why it’s important to work closely with San Francisco employment lawyers who can easily recognize the presence of employer FEHA violations.
Here, we take a closer look at these red flags and what you can do about them once they’re identified.
Which Category of California Workers Are Protected Under FEHA?
The Federal Employment and Housing Act protects employees against discrimination who fall under these protected categories:
- Race and color
- Religion and creed
- Age (40 and above)
- Marital status
- Medical conditions
- Mental and physical disability
- Genetic identity, gender expression
- Sexual orientation
- Sex or gender, pregnancy, breastfeeding, childbirth
- Military or veteran status
This Act also protects applicants and current workforce members who have asserted their rights under these FEHA laws. All these are people San Francisco FEHA defense attorneys are ready to pursue justice on their behalf.
What Are the Common FEHA Violation Red Flags?
As San Francisco employment attorneys, we often see big and small employers either not understanding their FEHA obligations or being blatantly determined to avoid them. These red flags are hopefully meant to be seen by employers, who should seal the gaps and employees to recognize violations better and seek compensation with the help of an experienced San Francisco FEHA defense attorney.
Retaliation for Opposing Discrimination or Harassment
An employer can retaliate against you for opposing FEHA prohibited practices such as sexual harassment, employment discrimination based on sex, race, age etc., or failure to grant family or pregnancy leave to an employee.
You may be assisting someone else seeking advice on their case, or participating in an activity your employer may deem as opposition to harassment or discrimination. This would be considered employer retaliation as long as what you were opposing meets the definition of harassment or discrimination.
Retaliation for Filing a Workplace Discrimination/Harassment Complaint
If you went ahead and filed a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), your employer shouldn’t terminate your employment or retaliate.
Retaliation or Termination for Helping in an Ongoing FEHA Proceeding
If your employer is under investigation by the DFEH or any other state agency for a potential FEHA violation, you can offer your assistance if you witness something. However, your employer shouldn’t hit back at you for participating in the ongoing investigations. If this is you, get in touch with a FEHA defense attorney in San Francisco as soon as possible.
Retaliation or Termination Against Reasonable Accommodation Requests
Any requests for accommodations due to religious beliefs or physical/mental disability shouldn’t be used against you. This also includes the total absence of an interactive process to listen and engage with the employee with certain restrictions or withdrawal of these accommodations if they were already proven to be reasonable.
For example, a seventh-day Adventist employee may make a request to be excused on Saturdays so that s/he can observe the Sabbath, only to be fired later. This action in response to the accommodations request is illegal. Let a professional San Francisco FEHA defense attorney fight for your rights.
No Restrictions Policy
Some employers refuse to accommodate employees returning with restrictions due to some injury. Some employers may consider it costly or inconvenient to have such an employee or even refuse to offer light duties to employees coming back with certain physical or mental restrictions. All these are FEHA violations that should be fought.
How Best Do I Show a Causal Connection Between the Retaliation and My FEHA-Protected Activities?
This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of a FEHA wrongful termination or retaliation lawsuit in California. You need to show that your FEHA-protected activities were a substantial motivating reason for the adverse actions meted against you.
You need an experienced San Francisco FEHA defense attorney to help you with this. Participating in your protected activities could be, among many other reasons. Therefore, that shouldn’t prevent you from seeking redress. Your skilled employer retaliation attorney in san Francisco will investigate your FEHA Act violation and build a strong case against your employer.
What Does FEHA Permit and Isn’t Discriminatory?
While there are many actions that qualify as FEHA violations, there are others that are not. An employer in California is within their rights not to promote or hire an employee if:
- The employee cannot perform the essential duties of the job
- The employee would create imminent danger to himself and others
- The employer can’t provide reasonable accommodations to the employee
FEHA recognizes that employers have the right to protect their businesses and employees too. So, it won’t be discrimination if there’s substantive and possible harm expected in the future.
An Employment Law Firm Pursuing Justice On Behalf of Employees
California employers violate FEHA provisions in dozens of ways, but the ones listed here are the most common. These violations could lead to liability for lost wages, damages for emotional distress, attorney fees, out-of-pocket expenses, and punitive damages. But you’ll need a knowledgeable and aggressive FEHA Act attorney providing a hands-on approach to represent you.
Our employment law firm may be able to help you if your employer has discriminated against you or violated your rights in any way. We care about what we do and the people we represent. That’s why we are ready to fight the unlawful and degrading mistreatment you’ve endured. Schedule a FREE consultation with us today for a more personalized conversation.