What we do for a living often defines who we are. After all, a substantial part of our lives is spent at our place of employment, working hard to get the job done. Too often, victims of employment discrimination think they should just put up with unfair treatment and hope things will get better. But suffering in silence does not make the wrongful conduct go away.
As an employee, you have the right not to be discriminated against at work. The Sampath Law Firm (SLF) can help you understand and stand up for your rights.
What is Employment Discrimination?
Decisions about your employment should be based on your work performance. Employment Discrimination occurs when your employer takes negative employment actions against you based on your race, gender, age, disability, or any other category protected under the law. Negative employment actions include, but are not limited to:
- Being fired
- Suffering a demotion (with or without loss of pay)
- Suddenly being excluded from meetings and emails without justification
- Unjustified negative performance reviews
- Being denied a promotion
- Not being hired at all
Employment Discrimination is illegal. Your employment rights have been violated if your employer has discriminated against you on the basis of your:
- Race, Color
- Ancestry, National origin
- Religion, Creed
- Age (40 and over)
- Disability, mental and physical
- Including pregnancy
- Other pregnancy related medical conditions
- Gender Identity, Gender Expression
- Sexual Orientation
- Medical Condition
- Taking a Protected Leave
- Pregnancy Disability Leave
- Genetic Information
- Marital Status
- Military or Veteran Status
- Immigration Status
These are all “protected categories” under California state law and many are protected under federal law as well.
Have you suffered employment discrimination at work? You do not have to put up with the unfair treatment. The attorneys at SLF have years of experience successfully fighting against discrimination in the workplace and advocating for worker's rights.
If you believe you have been treated differently because you are a member of a protected category listed above, contact our office to see how we can help.
HOW DO I PROVE DISCRIMINATION?
Discrimination comes in many different forms, both obvious and subtle. Direct evidence is the easiest way to prove that discrimination occurred because it is obvious. Direct evidence can include statements by your managers or supervisors that directly relate to you being a member of a protected category as the basis for the negative employment action taken against you.
If, for example, your employer tells you that you are being terminated or let go because you are having a baby, or because you have a disability, and the company cannot accommodate your schedule so it is terminating you, you may have direct evidence that you were terminated because of your protected class status (sex, gender, disability). Direct evidence can be in the form of verbal comments or statements written in letters, e-mails, text messages, chat platforms, memos, or notes.
Direct evidence in today's workplaces is rare because most employers are savvy enough not to state derogatory or blatant statements about your protected status to your face. But, you may also prove discrimination occurred through less obvious means using circumstantial evidence. You may have circumstantial evidence of discrimination if you can show that you were treated differently than a similarly situated employee who is not in your protected class.
Take, for example, a scenario where you and a less-qualified co-worker applied for a promotion, but the less-qualified co-worker - not of your same race, sex, national origin, etc. - got the promotion over you. You may have circumstantial evidence of discrimination if: 1) your employer could not articulate a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for promoting the co-worker over you; or 2) you could show that your employer's stated reason for not promoting you was false.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE BEEN DISCRIMINATED AGAINST AT WORK?
If you think you have been discriminated against at work, your first step should be to report the suspected discrimination to your supervisor and/or human resources department.
If the person treating you differently is your direct boss, you may understandably not want to confront him or her. In this case, you can report the discrimination to human resources and even someone in the chain of command above your boss.
You should also keep a diary of events as they occur and, if possible, get the names of witnesses who can verify what happened. If your employer fails to take corrective action or if the offending conduct continues, you may have a case. An attorney at SLF can review your situation and discuss your legal rights and options. Contact us for an initial consultation.