California Employment Discrimination: Legal or Illegal?

The question posed in the title of this blog entry is one I deal with on at least a weekly basis, if not a daily basis.  I speak with many prospective clients who feel they are victims of discrimination in the workplace.  Each conversation involves a discussion of what constitutes "legal" discrimination and "illegal" discrimination.  This distinction separates a legal cause of action from a gripe (albeit many times a valid gripe, but not a legal claim).

In California, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA") protects employees from discriminatory treatment based on the employee's race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age or sexual orientation. Violations of the FEHA are unlawful and an employee possesses a potentially valid legal claim if it can be proven that the employee was subjected to such "illegal" discriminatory treatment.

The FEHA does not protect employees from discriminatory treatment based on lack of fashion, hygiene, sense of humor or the type of car you drive (yes, I have heard all of these).  Instances of such discrimination do go to prove the unfortunate existence of petty and immature supervisors and bosses, but sadly we do not have any laws in place in California against immaturity.

If you feel your employer may be illegally discriminating against you in the workplace, please contact Richardson "Red" Griswold of Griswold Law at his direct line (858) 481-1300 or at

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