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A person deserves to be valued and treated fairly while at work.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. 

Workers who belong to protected classes can face a wide variety of discrimination based on disability, age, gender, and race, which is prohibited by state and federal law.

If you have been discriminated against, work with a Los Angeles workplace discrimination lawyer to protect you against retaliation and seek compensation for any lost pay or benefits, emotional distress, and any other loss you have suffered due to unlawful discrimination.


The California Fair Employment and Housing Act law protects numerous classes of individuals from employment discrimination, and it applies to businesses with more than five employees. 

Four of the most common categories of discrimination are discussed in more detail below.


Disability Discrimination

Employees with physical and mental disabilities are protected from workplace discrimination under California law and the Americans with Disabilities Act. California defines “disability” very broadly to protect employees. A physical disability includes any bodily condition, including cosmetic disfigurement or anatomical loss, that affects one or more of the body’s major systems and limits a significant life activity. 

California law also recognizes some temporary disabilities. A mental disability is any mental or psychological condition limiting a major life activity, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), bipolar disorder, or depression.


Age Discrimination

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees over 40. If an employee or applicant over 40 receives less favorable treatment because of their age, the employer is guilty of age discrimination. Age discrimination is established by showing that the job applicant or employee’s age over 40 was a substantial motivating factor in the denial of employment benefits.

Signs that indicate age discrimination include:

  • Firing employees who have been with the company longer
  • Significant changes in job performance reviews
  • Forcing retirement
  • Limiting older workers to specific duties
  • Comments about the age of employees


Sex/Gender Discrimination

Employers are prohibited from discriminating based on a person’s gender in California.

The term “gender” is used to broadly encompass discrimination based on any of the following bases:

  • Pregnancy or related medical conditions
  • Breastfeeding or related medical conditions
  • Childbirth or related medical conditions
  • Gender assigned at birth
  • Gender identity
  • Gender expression
  • Sexual orientation


Race/Ancestry Discrimination

In California, it is illegal to discriminate against an employee or applicant based on race, skin color, national origin, or ancestry or perceived race, skin color, national origin, or ancestry. It is also unlawful to discriminate against an employee or applicant because of their association with people from these protected groups.



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There are a wide variety of actions that constitute discrimination when made because of an individual’s protected characteristic of membership in a protected group, including:

  • Refusing to hire or promote an individual
  • Demoting or firing a worker
  • Adopting any company policy that disproportionately impacts protected workers
  • Allowing workplace harassment
  • Refusing to make reasonable accommodation for the religious or disability-related needs of protected employees

Discrimination can take the form of disparate treatment or disparate impact. Any act that explicitly targets a protected employee and is done with discriminatory intent is considered disparate treatment. If an employer adopts a policy that more negatively impacts a protected group, it is disparate impact discrimination regardless of the employer’s intent.



Even if you don’t report the discrimination to your employer, you can still bring legal action for discrimination. If you do not take any legal action, your employer will not be held accountable for the damage they have caused you and may continue to discriminate against future employees or applicants. 

Employers who discriminate against employees can face the consequences like having to pay back pay, emotional distress damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees and costs. Work with a qualified workplace discrimination attorney in Los Angeles, CA, to understand your options and chances of recovery. 

An employment discrimination lawyer will help you file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and will advocate for you to handle any retaliation you are facing in the workplace and seek redress from your employer.


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The statute of limitations for discrimination claims is three years, which means that an employee must file a charge of discrimination with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing within three years of the last act of discrimination. 

If the discrimination was part of a pattern that reaches back more than three years, a Los Angeles discrimination attorney will argue your employer committed a “continuing violation” and that even discriminatory acts outside of the statute of limitations should be included with your discrimination claim.




After experiencing any type of harassment or discrimination in the workplace, it's difficult to know where to turn and who you can trust.

At the Malk Law Firm, we have successfully represented employees against large and small companies (all over California and Washington) in various labor and employment-related lawsuits, including:

Trust our team to fight for your rights in the workplace. Our Los Angeles discrimination lawyers are available for a free consultation to discuss your options. Please reach out today to tell us about your case.

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