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Discrimination Law Overview

San Francisco, California Discrimination Attorneys

Employees seek legal advice regarding discrimination when they are denied a promotion, demoted, or terminated and the employee believes this decision was based on a factor other than job performance. Federal and state laws protect employees from illegal job discrimination. If you believe you have suffered discrimination at work you may be able to obtain compensation and seek justice for the wrongs you have suffered.

The employer will often try to justify the employment decision on a non-discriminatory reason, such as poor performance in the workplace. It requires an experienced discrimination attorney to investigate all the facts to determine whether California or federal laws against discrimination in the workplace have been violated.

Types of Discrimination

Discrimination in employment can include the following types of discrimination:

Federal Law

There are number of federal statutes prohibiting different kinds of discrimination.  These include the following:

  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits discrimination in employment of individuals over the age of 40. 
  • The Older Worker’s Benefits Protection Act of 1990 prohibits age discrimination concerning benefits. 

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination against equally qualified people on the account of disability.  The Act includes AIDS as a disability. The ADA includes a requirement that reasonable accommodations be made for employees with disabilities.

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) prohibits employers from discriminating against their employees based on race, skin color, religion, age, sex (gender), disability or national origin.

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1991 allows victims of employment discrimination to recover damages.
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits wage discrimination based on gender.  

  • The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 prohibits employment discrimination based on place of origin or citizenship status. 

  • The Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 makes employers in the federal government accountable for violations of discrimination and retaliation laws.   

  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 prohibits employment discrimination because of pregnancy, childbirth, or any associated health conditions.  

State Law

States and municipalities can enact their own employment discrimination laws that include or expand the provisions under federal law. For example, some states make it unlawful for employers to discriminate based on sexual orientation or preference, while others make it unlawful for employers to discriminate based on personal habits such as smoking.  Still others prohibit discrimination based on an employee’s weight.

Some states and municipalities refer to their employment discrimination laws as fair employment practices laws, and they are typically enforced by local equal employment opportunity offices or civil rights agencies.

Sexual Harassment

Both men and women can file claims for sexual harassment in the workplace.  Sexual harassment includes:

  • unwelcome advances
  • propositions
  • requests for sexual favors (known as “quid pro quo)
  • and other spoken or verbal or physical conduct that is of a sexual nature. 
  • Harassing language, posters, cartoons and pictures.

When such behavior affects an employee’s job performance, there may be grounds for a sexual harassment lawsuit.

If an employer allows employees to create a hostile or offensive work environment, by doing nothing when one employee makes sexual overtures to another, this can also be considered sexual harassment.

California Discrimination Lawyers

If you need the services of a California discrimination attorney, it is important to seek an attorney with experience (we’re not “experts”) and an excellent reputation. The Law Offices of Mayor Joseph L. Alioto and Angela Alioto P.L.C. is distinguished by its expertise and national recognition in Civil Rights and Employment Law. We successfully represent individuals in the areas of work-place discrimination based on race, age, disability, gender, religion and sexual orientation, as well as harassment, wage/hour, retaliatory discharge, and wrongful termination.