Fair Employment & Housing Act ("FEHA")
The California Fair Employment & Housing Act ("FEHA") protects employees and tenants from discrimination based on race, religion, sex, age (40 and over), disability, medical condition (including AIDS, HIV, and cancer), national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, and national origin.
San Francisco FEHA Attorneys for Employees: Protected Classes
An employer is prohibited from discriminating against an employee in all phases of employment including the hiring, promotion, and termination phases. An employer cannot consider race, religion, sex, age (40 and over), disability, medical condition (including AIDS, HIV, and cancer), national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, or national origin when promoting, hiring, training, or firing an employee.
Burden of Proof under FEHA
In order to prove a FEHA violation, an employee must show that the employee was subjected to an adverse employment action because of the employee's race, religion, sex, etc. Adverse employment actions can vary, including termination, reduction in hours, reduction in pay, demotion, or a failure to hire. Once an employee establishes these facts, there is a presumption that the employer has violated FEHA and has engaged in unlawful conduct.
An employer then has the opportunity to offer a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for the adverse employment action. In other words, the employer can be justified in taking an adverse employment action upon a showing of good cause. For example, an employee stealing company property or not showing up for work without notice would both be grounds for termination.
Even if the employer puts forth a purported non-retaliatory reason for the adverse employment action, the employee has a final opportunity to prove that the conduct was nevertheless retaliatory and intentional.
What should I do if I've been discriminated against?
If you believe you have been discriminated against by an employer, you should contact an experienced employment attorney at Bracamontes & Vlasak, P.C. located in San Francisco, California. The statute of limitations for these cases is relatively short and you should take action immediately. Bracamontes & Vlasak, P.C. provides free consultations.
Are there any requirements before I can file a lawsuit for discrimination under FEHA?
Yes, you must obtain a right-to-sue letter from the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing ("DFEH"). While these letters can be obtained instantaneously from DFEH's website, it is always preferable to consult an attorney first so that your attorney can have control over the process and pursue the right litigation strategy for you.
For more information, see our employment group pages or call our offices today.