Descrimination, Harassment and Retaliation


Discrimination is prohibited in the workplace under federal and state laws. Legally speaking, discrimination covers actions taken against employees because of their membership or perceived membership in a particular “protected class.” Treating those people differently and negatively compared with other people not in the same class is discrimination. Everyone is part of a protected class. In California, the protected classes include age, AIDS or HIV-positive status, marital status, domestic partnership, medical condition, and genetic characteristics, race or national origin/ancestry, pregnancy, religion, gender or sexual orientation, harassment, and name change.


Under state and federal laws, employees are protected from employer retaliation. In California, retaliation is considered to be “any adverse employment action resulting from an individual opposing practices prohibited by the FEHA or an individual who filed a complaint, testified, assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing conducted by the Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC) or Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or their staffs.”

If you believe that your company has retaliated against you for asserting or using your rights as an employee, contact The Fletcher B. Brown Law Firm for a free consultation.


When a California employer engages in harassing behavior that is targeted at someone because of their race, color, religion, sex, disability, sexual orientation, or any other protected classification, and when that harassing behavior is so severe and pervasive that it alters the terms and conditions of employment, then that employer may be liable for unlawful harassment. The employer may also be liable for failure to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent harassment, which is a separate claim in California. An employer’s employee handbook, harassment policy, harassment reporting procedures, and prior harassment training history will be key to the employer’s defense in a failure to prevent harassment action.