Workplace Discrimination

If you hear comments like this at your workplace, WE WANT TO KNOW!

“Please don’t send me another one of those old guys, they just slow everyone down!”

“I can’t deal with any more Mexican workers, learn English already!”

san diego discriminationIt is hard to believe, but we hear complaints about comments like this all the time. This is not just upsetting, it is wrong and could be illegal! Call us right away if you are dealing with this kind of behavior in your workplace.

Have you found yourself wondering, “is my boss discriminating against me?”

Discrimination can take a number of forms, some of which may surprise you. Favoritism, for example, can be considered discrimination against the person who has been deliberately left out or looked over in favor of another.

In order to have a discrimination case you must fall under one or more protected classes as defined by the law. California recently added military status to this list.

Here I will attempt to give you a basic understanding of who is protected, but call our office for more specific questions about your personal situation.



Possessing a medical condition alone will not give you protection automatically. Aside from being fully qualified for the position, you must also fit the guidelines below:

  1. A person can be disabled if they posses a physical or mental ailment, causing substantial limitation to one or more major life functions, such as seeing, hearing, walking or learning.
  2. A person can be disabled if they present with a history of disability, possibly cancer, that is now in remission, or lupus which could flare up.
  3. A person could also be disabled if others believe them to have a long term or terminal physical or mental condition, whether or not they actually have the condition. This means, if you were demoted or fired because your boss heard a rumor that you were pregnant, had HIV, or something along these lines. You could have a disability discrimination case even though you in fact are totally healthy.

Both Federal and California government clearly lay out labor laws which prohibit discrimination. You are protected as an employee and as a new applicant under these laws, defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act, also known as the “ADA” and the Rehabilitations Act. You cannot be treated any differently in regards to being hired, terminated, your specific job assignment, rate of pay or raises, getting a promotion, specific fringe benefits, being laid off or the positiondisabled discrimination training requirements.

Being Harassed: If you are disabled and experience excessive taunting or off color remarks, which become persistent enough to create a hostile or intolerable workplace, this could be considered harassment. Such harassment may be from a superior, coworker, or an accepted, company wide attitude toward disabled persons.

Reasonable Accommodations: Your employer is required by law to make reasonable alterations and accommodations for your disability in the workplace. This can mean installing a ramp up entry stairs or widening restroom doorways, etc. Small companies with fewer than 40 employees can apply for a dispensation if making such alterations places undue hardship on the company. You need to get help if your company is refusing to make such changes.


Although federal and California state laws prohibit discrimination against individuals because of their age, it is not unusual to find that there are still employers who use discriminatory practices against older workers and job seekers. We will evaluate not only your potential age discrimination case, but also take the requisite time to review your entire employment experience for other possible labor violations.

Because most companies are rather deceptive about such discriminatory practices, it can be difficult to define these cases. Employers are also within their rights, under the law, to replace older employees with younger ones capable of performing the same job, while being paid less or getting fewer benefits. BUT, if we can prove that the replacement was based on age alone, not just to save themselves money, you could have an age discrimination case, and possibly unlawful termination as well.

It is unlawful to perpetuate a company-wide system of hiring exclusively applicants under a particular age because of believed limitations, or expenses associated with older workers. This could be in writing or just well understood by employees and management.

man with a target sign on his t-shirtSEX or GENDER DISCRIMINATION:
 Are you wondering, “What is sex discrimination?” Or “Who is involved in gender discrimination?”

These types of comments are all too common, even in today’s “modern” workplace.

“Oh Great, are you PMSing? Now I’ll never get my report done!”
“Nice skirt Jen. Now I know what it takes to get the big accounts.”

Not surprisingly, many of these cases can fall under sexual harassment as well as sexual discrimination.

Like any other protected class, you can not be denied employment or promotion, or otherwise treated differently at work, because of your gender and the stereotypes that come with it. Both men and women are affected by discrimination, and it is more common that one might think. In many cases, these things start small, such as a supervisor allowing such attitudes to create an institution-wide behavior.

This is a very common area for favoritism, where one gender is repeatedly treated better. This is indirect discrimination and still a problem.

Pregnancy and family status is covered under Sex Discrimination as well. You can not lose a job, be fired, or passed over for promotion because you are pregnant or have children.

This may seem straight forward, however, Racial Discrimination in your workplace may present in different ways.  You do not have to accept bad behavior as “how things work.”
A racial discrimination case must fit the following:

#1. You must have belonged to one or more protected classes at the time of the incident.
#2. You must have been otherwise qualified for the position which you applied for or held when you experienced the discrimination.
#3. The person you were passed over for, who was promoted or hired rather than you, belongs to a different race and they were chosen solely for this reason.

Usually, the employer will offer a different reason, but in discrimination cases it is often clear that they are fabricating the cover story to avoid being sued. We can help you determine the difference and protect your rights.

Additional Resources for discrimination information:


 This year new laws were passed to protect workers from immigration discrimination.

This area affects many workers in California and is highly contested. You cannot be discriminated against in any way by an employer or co-worker based on your nationality.

 Examples of this could be:
“If we hire you it will only be to work in back.”
“If you don’t quit complaining and do your job, I’ll be happy to call the INS.”

You would not believe some of the comments we have heard from employees. This type of treatment is not just wrong, it is illegal.

You CAN STAND UP, there are protections from NEW LAWS and we can help you determine what applies to you.





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