Employment Discrimination

An Orange County Employment Lawyer on Employment Discrimination

Discrimination in the workplace based on an employee’s protected characteristics is prohibited in California. Employment lawyers Orange County can explain the similarity and difference between protections under federal law and state law.

Protected Characteristics

California law protects a broader class of individuals than does federal law, including:

  • Race
  • Religious creed
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Ancestry
  • Physical disability
  • Mental disability
  • Medical condition
  • Marital status
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation

Covered Employers

Federal law has multiple laws regarding employment discrimination and correspondingly different rules as to which employers are covered. For example, under Title VII, the primary law addressing employment discrimination, employees with 15 or more employees are covered. Under the Age Discrimination Enforce Act, the coverage applies to companies with 20 or more workers. Under California law, companies with five or more employees must comply with state employment discrimination laws.

Regulating Agencies

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulates federal employment discrimination claims, while the Department of Fair Employment and Housing oversees state claims.

Types of Discrimination

If a negative employment consequence results from an employee’s status as a member of a protected class, that may give rise to a cause of action. Discrimination may be in the form of:

  • Disparate treatment, whereby an employee is singled out because of some protected characteristic.
  • Disparate impact, where company policies have a disproportionate impact on a protected class.
  • Harassment, which may involve either a hostile workplace or quid pro quo, which is Latin for “this in exchange for that.”

Initiating a Cause of Action

In most cases, an employee who complains of discrimination must file an administrative action with the EEOC within 180 days of the alleged violation to have standing to file a lawsuit. Under California law, an individual has one year to file a complaint with the DFEH.


Damages under federal law may be capped and attorney fees are limited. Among the damages that may be recovered in California, depending on the circumstances of your case, are lost wages, emotional distress, costs of litigation and attorney fees. In some egregious situations, punitive damages may be available.

Contact an Orange County Employment Lawyer for Legal Advice

If you believe an employment action taken against you was unjustified, call Daily Aljian, LLP at 949-861-2524.

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