Employees in California continue to face discrimination on the job, despite laws that prohibit the practice at federal, state and local levels. Employers may not discriminate in hiring, promotion or termination on the basis of protected characteristics, which include race, sex, disability, religion, age and in many cases sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, sexual harassment is also prohibited in the workplace. At the federal level, affected employees must show that their jobs were directly under threat or that they were subject to severe or pervasive conduct, whether a single extreme incident or an ongoing offensive climate.
However, state laws often provide a higher level of protection. The Omnibus Sexual Harassment bill in California provides greater rights for employees subject to sexual harassment on the job. In addition, workers also have the right to be free of retaliation for reporting harassment and discrimination. Despite this, many employees fear making a complaint about this type of misconduct because they worry that their employer will find an excuse to terminate them or demote them to a lower position.
Employees have the right to stand up for themselves and pursue legal action if they are subjected to workplace harassment or discrimination. There are steps that people can take to make their claims stronger, including gathering evidence of the incidents as well as their effect on the victim. By writing up a chronology of incidents, logging events as they take place and keeping any relevant documents or emails, victims can establish a paper trail.
It can also be important to keep track of the ways in which workplace discrimination affected the victim, including physical and emotional effects as well as direct effects at work. Workers might opt to contact an employment law attorney for guidance on how they can pursue a claim for this type of misconduct.