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. However, 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.
Over the years in California, additional factual instances have come to be considered unlawful terminations in California. The courts and legislature of California have determined that certain conduct by employers that violates public policy and/or punishes employees for reporting employer misconduct is unlawful. These types of terminations
are commonly termed "retaliatory discharges." The protections afforded to employees are commonly referred to as "whistleblower" protections. Typically, protected employee conduct falls within the following four categories:
1. Refusing to violate a statute;
2. Performing a statutory obligation;
3. Exercising a constitutional right or privilege;
4. Reporting a statutory violation for the public benefit.
Griswold Law consistently handles a variety of employment cases, including disputes involving:
1. failure to pay wages, overtime, commissions owed;
2. wrongful termination;
3. sexual harassment;
4. employee misclassification (independent contractor vs. employee; exempt vs. non-exempt);
5. employee class actions.
I hope you do not find yourself in a difficult employment situation. However, if you do, please contact Richardson "Red" Griswold of Griswold Law, APC.