What is discrimination?In general, certain classes of people are protected by federal and California law, which provide that those particular classes are protected from workplace discrimination. This means that an employer may not engage in conduct that negatively impacts a person’s employment for the sole reason that the employee is a member of a protected class. For example, pregnancy is a protected class and it would therefore be illegal to fire an employee because that employee becomes pregnant. Actions that negatively impact someone’s employment include:
- Terminating an employee’s employment
- Treating an employee unfairly
- Refusing to hire a job applicant
- Refusing to promote an employee
- Failing to offer benefits/compensation/privileges offered to other employees
- Demoting an employee
- Refusing to make reasonable accommodations for the employee
Recovery available for discriminationRecovery in discrimination cases is not limited to financial recovery. In some cases, it may include ordering an employer to take specific actions to rectify their wrongful conduct and damages suffered by the employee. Recovery options may not be the same when you bring a federal employment claim vs. a state employment claim. See below for recovery options that may be available in your case depending on your facts and the type of claim you bring.
- Lost wages including lost wages from the past, ongoing, and future lost wages resulting from the discriminatory conduct.
- Emotional distress caused by discrimination including things such as anxiety and depression.
- Punitive damages in order to punish the defendant and deter that type of behavior in the future.
- Attorney fees for the plaintiff’s attorney.
- A court ordered promotion should the court find that the plaintiff was denied a promotion for discriminatory reasons.
- A court ordered hiring/reinstatement for a plaintiff who lost his or her job as a result of discrimination.
- A court ordering reasonable accommodations to be made for the plaintiff.