Have you been treated unfairly, harassed, or terminated from your job due to your age, gender, race, religion, or other protected characteristics? You are not alone. Workplace discrimination remains a widespread problem that impacts employees across California every single day.
The experienced attorneys at TONG LAW understand the pain discrimination in the workplace can cause, and we fight aggressively to obtain justice for employees and hold employers accountable. If you feel you have suffered discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination, contact our California discrimination and harassment lawyers for dedicated and caring representation.
We Assist With All Types of Discrimination and Harassment Claims
Title VII is the key federal law prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. However, discrimination takes many forms, and employees have protections under other federal and state laws as well. Our employment lawyers have handled cases across the spectrum of bias.
The Americans with Disabilities Act and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act protect employees from disability discrimination. This includes wrongful denial of reasonable accommodations, disability harassment in the workplace, or terminating an employee due to their disability.
Employers have an obligation under these laws to engage in a timely, good-faith, interactive process with employees to determine reasonable accommodations. There are no “magic words” an employee must utter to trigger the employer’s obligation.
Age bias remains disturbingly common in California workplaces. Under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, employees over age 40 are protected. Forms of age discrimination include:
- Not hiring qualified older applicants due to their age.
- Forcing retirement or laying off older workers while retaining younger ones.
- Harassing or micromanaging older employees based on ageist stereotypes.
Additionally, forced retirement or buyout programs that target older employees while sparing younger workers may also constitute illegal age discrimination if not part of a valid seniority system.
Age discrimination can also surface through derogatory, hostile comments about older employees, such as calling them “over the hill” or “dinosaurs” based on ageist attitudes. These actions attempt to limit the employment opportunities and rights of workers over 40 without legitimate justification.
Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
Quid pro quo sexual harassment involves overt demands to engage in sexual acts as a condition for gaining or maintaining employment benefits like hiring, promotion, favorable projects or schedules, or even just keeping one’s job.
However, harassment manifests more commonly through a hostile work environment of severe or pervasive unwanted sexualized comments, gestures, touching, jokes, or displays. This includes sexual or crude comments, inappropriate questions, comments on appearances, unnecessary touching, leering gestures, vulgar jokes or images, and other acts that create an intimidating or offensive workplace. Harassment can originate from any level – supervisors, coworkers, clients, or vendors.
If you are experiencing sexual harassment, report it and document every incident. No employee should have to endure a hostile workplace, and our attorneys can guide you in asserting your rights.
Racial discrimination encompasses hiring, promotion, compensation, or wrongful termination decisions influenced by an individual’s race, ethnicity, or color. It also includes severe or pervasive racially harassing behaviors that create a hostile work environment through slurs, intimidation, mocking languages or accents, or circulation of racist imagery.
More subtle discrimination manifests through microaggressions and racially disproportionate expectations and punishments. For example, Black employees may face expectations to represent their entire race or be viewed as threatening or aggressive based on biases. Race discrimination also appears in policies prohibiting natural Black hairstyles, as protected against by the CROWN Act.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits workplace discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. Discrimination occurs when pregnant employees are denied reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy, such as time off for appointments, light duties, or temporary alternative assignments.
Employers cannot mandate pregnant employees take leave or assume they can no longer meet performance standards. Pregnancy discrimination includes firing, demoting, or denying promotions to pregnant staff before or after leave.
Employers also cannot reduce pay or benefits for medically necessary leave periods due to pregnancy or childbirth recovery. Pregnant job applicants must be considered the same as any applicants in terms of abilities and cannot be assumed to intend to take extended leave time.
What Remedies Are Available for Workplace Harassment and Discrimination?
If you have experienced unlawful workplace harassment or discrimination, California and federal law provide several forms of remedies you may recover through a legal claim or lawsuit:
- Compensatory damages – Includes recovery for financial losses like lost wages, missed promotions, benefits owed, and damage to career trajectory and future earning potential.
- Emotional distress damages – Compensation for mental anguish, anxiety, humiliation, and harm to dignity caused by the harassment or discrimination.
- Punitive damages – Money awarded to punish the employer and deter future misconduct, granted in cases of especially egregious or reckless behavior.
- Attorneys’ fees – Payment of all reasonable fees and costs incurred in pursuing your claim. This ensures claimants can secure effective legal counsel.
Monetary compensation makes up the bulk of typical remedies. An experienced employment lawyer can pursue the full range of remedies available in your case.
Why Hire a Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Lawyer?
If you have faced discrimination, harassment, or retaliation at work, having an experienced employment lawyer is crucial.
An attorney can provide numerous benefits throughout the claims process, including:
- Evaluating your case – A lawyer will analyze the facts to determine if laws were truly broken and if you have viable legal claims. They will provide an honest assessment of your options.
- Calculating damages accurately – An attorney has the experience to tally the full extent of financial losses due to lost income, missed promotions, benefits owed, and impacts on future earning potential.
- Filing with administrative agencies – There are strict deadlines for filing discrimination charges with the EEOC and state agencies, which a lawyer will navigate properly.
- Negotiating a settlement – Employment attorneys have the skills to negotiate strongly for maximum compensation and use litigation as leverage against the employer.
- Taking legal action – If needed, your attorney can file lawsuits, conduct discovery, take depositions, and represent you vigorously through trial to fight for justice.
- Protecting your reputation – Lawyers can prevent unnecessary damage to your reputation by keeping sensitive details confidential throughout legal proceedings.
Without proper legal advice and advocacy, employees risk receiving inadequate remedies or having their statute of limitations expire. The costs of hiring a discrimination attorney are often well worth it in the long run.
Let Our California Employment Lawyers Help With Your Case
Workplace discrimination and harassment can take many forms but often follow similar patterns of abuse of power, hostile treatment, denial of rights, and retaliation. However, employees have legal protections – and enforcing them requires experienced counsel.
Our California employment attorneys can represent your interests and hold employers liable for unlawful discrimination. TONG LAW brings years of combined experience representing employees in California discrimination and harassment cases. We provide personalized attention, compassion, and aggressive representation to fight for the justice you deserve. Contact us for a consultation about your situation.