Employment and housing should be available to everyone willing to work for it. Although many challenges remain before workplace and housing discrimination are conquered, California is on the forefront of protecting workers and residents as groups and on case-by-cases basis.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) helps fight discrimination at a national level, while Sacramento is the home of California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The Fair Employment and Housing Act names “protected groups” to identify and prevent discrimination based on their characteristics, such as race and physical disability.
A new revision to the Act will empower DFEH to protect people against discrimination based on national origin. Specifically, harassment or reduced opportunities based on perceived or actual heritage of a national, linguistic, tribal, religious, familial or nominal origin will become illegal in July 2018.
California embraces one of the broadest definitions of national origin in the United States, as any ethnic or geographic identity qualifies if a person is suffering discrimination. Restricting the use of any language or requiring proficiency in English if it is not required by the job is also against the new regulation.
The Act will also clarify the definition of a hostile work environment as well. The text now specifies “a single unwelcome act” as severe enough to violate the law and trigger DFEH’s possible intervention.
Victims of workplace discrimination may require a civil lawsuit to correct the problem and help resolve the social ills created by inappropriate work behavior. An attorney can help represent a victim’s interests in court, settlements, negotiation or mediation.
Source: Mondaq, “California’s Fair Employment And Housing Council Broadens The Definition Of National Origin, Including Specific Provisions Relating To Language Restrictions And Employees’ Immigration Status,” Astineh Arakelian, June 13, 2018