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How the law addresses workplace discrimination in California

California is one of the most successful economies in the country and the world, and that is partially due to the strength of innovation in all of its sectors from construction to high-tech development. Discrimination against various groups of employees and managers is the enemy of the diversity that fuels this innovation.

As a result, the Golden State has one of the most progressive sets of anti-discrimination laws and guidelines to halt discrimination in its path. Both current employees and applicants to public and private jobs are protected from various types of bias.

Hiring and termination are the most commonly noticed types of discrimination, but pay cuts and failure to raise pay can also be forms of actionable discrimination. Working conditions must also be commensurate with the work being done by all people, regardless of gender, race or age. Participation in training programs or organized labor organizations must also be free of discrimination.

If discrimination has occurred, there are several forms of restitution approved by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Victims can claim back pay for earnings that should have been made in the absence of discrimination, or future earnings for a job lost due to discriminatory practices. Someone may also reapply for a job, apply for reinstatement or apply for a due promotion if he or she was denied those positions.

Companies should also change policies that encourage or preserve discrimination, as well as introduce trainings that introduce these new policies to employees and managers. A person may also sue for reasonable accommodation of disability, as well as damages for emotional distress and punitive damages for illegal business practices.

An attorney can help victims of workplace discrimination address these and other issues through settlements, civil lawsuits and other legal tools. Compensation for legal fees and costs may also be addressed in financial restitution received from a company or individual at fault.

Source: California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, "Employees and job applicants are protected from bias," accessed Jan. 04, 2018

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