Discrimination Attorney in San Jose, California

Most of us have a reasonable level of expectation that we’ll be safe and protected at our places of work. This includes not just physical safety but also feeling safe from harassment and acts of workplace discrimination. Sadly, incidents of discrimination are still occurring in California every day.

If you feel you’ve been the victim of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation for reporting discrimination, you need to seek help from an employment law attorney right away. These cases can be very difficult and uncomfortable to address, but help is available. If you’re in the San Jose, California area, or anywhere in the Silicon Valley as far south as Monterey and as far north as Oakland, reach out to Law Offices of Joel P. Waelty to discuss your options. 

Understanding Discrimination

Employment discrimination can occur if you’re being treated less favorably, unfairly, or differently than others due to some aspect of your life, lifestyle, or an immutable protected characteristic. Workplace discrimination can also include harassment, retaliation for calling out discrimination when it happens or reporting it to management, being denied modifications at your workplace due to your religion or your disabilities, or being asked questions about your medical history or genetic information. 

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Types of Discrimination 

No matter what type of discrimination you’re facing, there are options available to address the issue. This includes: 

  • Race Discrimination  

  • Religion Discrimination  

  • Sex Discrimination 

  • Pregnancy Discrimination (also includes breastfeeding or medical issues related to childbirth)  

  • Gender Identity Discrimination (or gender expression) 

  • Sexual Orientation Discrimination  

  • National Origin Discrimination  

  • Age Discrimination (typically applies to those 40 or older) 

  • Disability Discrimination  

  • Genetic Information Discrimination (employers are prohibited from asking for, seeking out, or purchasing information about your genetic information including genetic tests for you or your family members, or details about your family medical history)  

  • Harassment (which can include offensive conduct, verbal abuse, intimidation, offensive jokes, ridicule, threats, or being shown offensive objects or images) 

Prohibited Conduct

Because workplace discrimination can take on so many forms, it’s important to know what kind of conduct is considered prohibited under California law.  

  1. Discrimination in Hiring: This can apply to both the application and hiring process and can include acts such as refusing to allow certain people to apply for a job based on their race, not interviewing certain candidates due to assumptions based on their gender or national origin, requiring applicants to take a test that’s not directly related to the job, or not providing a reasonable accommodation to an applicant with a disability.    

  1. Terms and Conditions of Employment: This covers discrimination issues related to pay, employee benefits, retirement programs, sick leave, promotions, or work assignments and promotions. 

  1. Wrongful Termination: Terminating an employee based on their race, gender, religion, disability, or age is prohibited. Any termination or disciplinary response must be based on the actions of the employee and these must be applied equally to all employees. The law also prevents employers from discrimination when choosing workers to rehire after a layoff, and protects older employees from being laid off first. 

  1. Retaliation: No employer can take adverse action against you for reporting or complaining about discrimination or pursuing a lawsuit to address it. This could include actions like termination, a reduction in work hours, or a shift in your job assignment.   

Disparate Impact vs Disparate Treatment 

Another aspect of discrimination in the workplace that’s important to understand is the difference between disparate impact and disparate treatment. Both these practices can be seen as discrimination under California law, but they can be confusing for many to distinguish between when bringing forward a complaint or civil case. Essentially, disparate impact is best thought of as unintentional discrimination while disparate treatment is intentional discrimination.  

For instance, if your workplace’s standard hiring practices include a written assessment that routinely eliminates only candidates who are non-native English speakers, this could be seen as disparate impact. The test itself is applied equally to all potential employees, but the result of the test has a negative impact on a particular group that’s protected under state law. In another example, if the same test was given only to applicants of a certain national origin, this would be disparate treatment.   

As you might expect, it can be much more difficult to bring a discrimination case against an employer for disparate impact than disparate treatment, but both may be worth pursuing. When you work with a skilled employment law attorney, they can help you gather documentation and evidence to help support your lawsuit, advocate on your behalf, and represent your rights both at your workplace and in a court of law. 

Discrimination Attorney in San Jose, California 

If you’ve recently been the victim of discrimination at your place of employment or have witnessed discrimination or harassment at your workplace, you don’t have to go through this process alone. Reach out to Law Offices of Joel P. Waelty in San Jose, California for trusted legal help. Everyone deserves to feel safe and protected when they go to work and you don’t have to tolerate discrimination. Call today to schedule a consultation.