Have you been treated unfairly by an employer or supervisor? Contact Ferraro Vega at (619) 693-7727 to schedule a free consultation with a workplace discrimination lawyer in San Diego who can help you determine if you have a case.
When you face discrimination or unfair treatment based on something about you other than your work ethic and performance, you may have a workplace discrimination claim. A San Diego workplace discrimination lawyer can help you protect your rights, file a complaint, and seek damages for the harm you have suffered.
How Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers Can Help with Your Workplace Discrimination Case
Workplace discrimination may be obvious and unmistakable, but it is often not so obvious. You may have a strong gut feeling that you did not get promoted or were assigned specific duties because of a characteristic about yourself, but proving your claim can be difficult.
Despite the many legal protections afforded to California workers under state and federal law, discrimination claims are notoriously hard to prove and require following specific reporting steps within short deadlines.
An experienced team of San Diego employment lawyers can help you not only determine if you have a case but gather evidence and help you protect your rights.
At Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers, we focus entirely on employment litigation. We fight for the rights of clients in all industries in San Diego. Our workplace discrimination lawyers spent years working with major law firms in the U.S. and put this valuable experience and in-depth knowledge of employment law to work for you.
Turn to Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers to help with your discrimination claim and count on us to:
- Offer legal advice at every step of your case
- Investigate your case and help you gather evidence
- Assist in filing a complaint with EEOC or DFEH to trigger an investigation
- Represent you during mediation and negotiations with the employer
- Protect you against employer retaliation
- File a lawsuit for damages if your employer does not promptly correct the problem and mediation fails
We understand just how overwhelming discrimination can be in the workplace. You count on your job and you should not face unfair treatment. We are here to help and work on a contingency-fee basis with no out-of-pocket costs for the legal representation you deserve.
Contact our law firm to schedule a free case review to get started.
Types of Workplace Discrimination in San Diego
Employment discrimination can come in many forms. It may occur during the hiring process or during employment. It may be the result of intentional policies or practices, supervisor conduct, practices that result in unintentional discrimination, or it may be employee discrimination against another employee.
The following are common examples of behavior and policies that are considered workplace discrimination under federal or California law.
- Refusing to hire due to a protected class
- Wrongful termination due to discrimination
- Denying training or necessary tools to perform work
- Assigning work duties based on discrimination
- Mandating a dress code that discriminates
- Failing to promote, demoting, or paying less
- Harassment in the workplace based on a protected class
- Sexual harassment at the workplace
- Refusing to make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s disability or religious beliefs
- Instituting a company policy that disproportionately affects workers of a protected category, even unintentionally
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of what may constitute discrimination. If you believe you have faced unfair treatment because of a protected class, such as sex, age, religion, or race, you may have a discrimination case.
Discrimination claims in San Diego typically fall under one of two broad types or categories: disparate treatment or disparate impact discrimination.
Disparate Treatment Discrimination
This type of discrimination happens when an employee is singled out due to a protected category. This type of case requires that the employer’s actions be motivated by discrimination. Disparate treatment may occur when an employer does not hire, demotes, harasses, or fails to promote someone because they are, for example, a woman, transgender, or have a disability.
The employee has the burden of proving the action was discrimination.
Disparate Impact Discrimination
This type of discrimination occurs when a policy applies to all employees but has a disproportionate effect on people with a protected characteristic. The employer may be held liable for these policies even without intent to discriminate. An example of a disparate effect case could involve a dress code that is discriminatory against people who have religious grooming or dress requirements.
Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws in the Workplace
Federal law offers fairly broad protection against employment discrimination. However, it leaves noticeable gaps. California law offers even greater protection against discrimination for employees by expanding federally protected classes.
Title VII Employment Discrimination
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal anti-discrimination law enforced by EEOC. This law prohibits both intentional discrimination and employment practices with a discriminating effect.
Title VII prohibits discrimination based on:
- National origin
- Sex. The EEOC includes gender identity and sexual orientation under the definition of sex which makes it illegal to discriminate based on someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
If you bring a claim under Title VII against your employer, you are protected against workplace retaliation. Note that this federal law only applies to employers with at least 15 employees.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
This act is an amendment to Title VII. It expands the definition of “sex” and prohibits workplace discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or any medical condition associated with childbirth or pregnancy.
Equal Pay Act of 1963
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
This federal law prohibits age discrimination against employees or job applicants who are 40 or older. The ADEA protects certain applicants and employees over 40 against age discrimination in hiring, compensation, terms, privileges, and termination.
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
A federal law, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against qualified people with a disability both in the workplace and during hiring. The ADA applies to all employers who have at least 15 employees.
Note that some medical conditions are not necessarily disabilities but may be considered as such. For example, cancer or another major illness is not itself a disability, but it may meet the definition if the illness or side effects significantly limits a major activity of life such as working, eating, or cooking.
California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
FEHA is a California law and one of the country’s most powerful anti-discrimination laws.
This state law covers the following protected categories:
- National origin
- Physical or mental disability
- Medical condition, including genetic information
- Marital status
- Gender, gender identity, or gender expression
- Sexual orientation
- Military or veteran status
FEHA applies to all employers with at least 5 employees whereas Title VII only covers employers with 15 or more employees. FEHA also requires employers to take reasonable steps to prevent harassment such as providing sexual harassment training.
Gender Non-Discrimination Act
Even though California law already made gender identity a protected class, this act was passed to make the language clearer. This law was passed to safeguard protection for transgender and gender non-conforming people in the workplace.
Filing a Workplace Discrimination Lawsuit in San Diego
There are several steps that must be followed prior to filing a lawsuit against your employer for workplace discrimination. The first step is always filing a complaint.
If your case involves refusal to hire, you may not need to first file a complaint with the company’s human resources department. However, it is usually recommended or sometimes even necessary to file a complaint with HR or a supervisor before taking the next steps.
For an employer to be negligent in workplace discrimination or harassment claims that do not involve a supervisor, the employer must:
- Know or should have known the discrimination was happening and
- Failed to take appropriate corrective measures
If your employer does not take immediate action to fix the situation, the next step is filing a complaint with the correct government agency.
- If your discrimination claim involves a federal law, the complaint must be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
- For California state claims, the complaint must be filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
Next, the government agency will conduct an investigation. With the EEOC, this will involve interviewing witnesses, requesting more information, and overseeing mediation. Sometimes the EEOC takes a case to court, but it generally gives you a right to sue letter instead. This allows you to file a lawsuit against your employer.
Under federal law, you have just 90 days to file your lawsuit after receiving the right to sue notice.
For claims filed under the California Fair Housing and Employment Act (FEHA), you can expect a longer complaint process. You will be contacted within 60 days to discuss your complaint. DFEH may accept the complaint and deliver it to your employer, in which case mediation will occur. Otherwise, you may receive a right to sue letter instead.
If DFEH determines your employer violated the law in their investigation, they may send your case to the Legal Division to pursue.
A San Diego employment discrimination lawyer can assist you during the complaint process by making sure your complaint is filed with the correct agency and within the deadline. Your lawyer will assist you during the investigation and help you hold your employer accountable once you receive your right to sue notice.
Contact a San Diego Workplace Discrimination Lawyer for a Free Consultation
No one deserves to experience illegal discriminatory practices or unfair treatment at the workplace. At Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers, we take pride in representing clients across industries in upholding their rights and fighting back against all types of discrimination. Contact our law office today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced San Diego workplace discrimination lawyer who can help you.