Beyer, Pongratz & Rosen aggressively represents victims of discrimination, as well as employers being accused of discrimination. In California, it is illegal for an employer to take any “adverse employment action” against an employee (or applicant) because of his or her status as a member of a particular class including, without limitation: race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status.
Anti-discrimination laws are interpreted broadly to extend protection beyond what you may expect. Some examples of less known protections include discrimination based on the discriminatory-impact of objectively neutral job requirements if they are not essential but negatively affect a protected class. Furthermore, it protects women from gender discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, child birth, or pregnancy-related medical conditions. The laws also protect against discrimination based on a “perceived race,” or even discrimination based on “associating” with people in the protected classes. Furthermore, certain traits such as a person’s accent or salary may be so associated with a person’s national origin or age respectively, that discrimination based on those characteristics may also constitute discrimination.
Employers should be wary that simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that may not seem very serious at the time which may quickly cross an invisible line to harassment (such as race-based harassment). Furthermore, the employer’s acts or omissions regarding harassment may be used as evidence that the employer made an “adverse employment action,” such as a decision to transfer, demote, terminate, or refuse to hire, based on the protected class (such as race, pregnancy, or age). Employees (or applicants) may not be retaliated against for complaining of perceived discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Furthermore, if the employee quits due to harassment, it may be the legal equivalent to being fired.