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It is unlawful for employers to discriminate against their employees or applicants based on certain characteristics.

Are you wondering who can you sue for discrimination? You can, and today we will discuss how. 

What Is Discrimination in the Workplace?

Discrimination in the workplace is harassment or mistreatment based on a protected category. The law covers employees, applicants, interns, volunteers, and contractors.

Protected categories include age, disability, national origin, race, sex, gender, and religion.  

Sometimes it is hard to prove employment discrimination. There must be some sort of adverse action against the employee based on the protected class.

Signs of discrimination include, but are not limited to:

  • Termination,
  • Demotions,
  • Harassment, or
  • Denying benefits.

A complainant can prove discrimination through direct evidence, such as an email or statement, or through circumstantial evidence, which suggests discriminatory conduct.

With circumstantial evidence, the employer will have the opportunity to prove that they had a valid reason for their actions.

How to Sue for Discrimination in the Workplace

If you are experiencing workplace discrimination in California, you must first follow report the incident to your employer or human resources department.

You should follow the procedures in your employee policy if there is one.

Next, you would file a discrimination complaint with either the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Complaints are automatically cross-filed with the other agency, so you need to file only once. 

Both agencies operate similarly. The EEOC requires complainants to participate in counseling or alternative dispute resolution before pursuing a complaint.

The DFEH will investigate the complaint first and then try to have the parties settle the matter.

Regardless, the agency will analyze the complaint based on the facts and issues and decide whether to proceed with an investigation.

If a settlement is not possible, then you can move forward with the legal claim. DFEH will initiate a legal case in court.

With the EEOC, you can either request an administrative hearing or have the agency issue a final decision. Someone can also initiate a workplace discrimination suit on their own.

They need to obtain a Right to Sue notice from the DFEH, whether they do it privately or through the agency. 

Can You Sue for Discrimination with an Attorney?

You are not required to have an attorney to sue for discrimination, however, it would not be wise to proceed without one. Your attorney will help you decide the best course of action for your claim.

They should be able to guide you through the agency claims processes. They can obtain the Right to Sue notice and file your claim in court.

Most lawsuits settle outside of court because litigation is expensive and time-consuming, and not always the best option. If a settlement is not possible, your attorney will devise a litigation plan to take your case to trial.

Farzam Law Firm Will Help with Your Employment Discriminaton Claim

The Farzam Law Firm helps clients with employment law matters in and around Los Angeles.

We understand that you might be feeling angry, hurt, and insulted after being mistreated by your employer.

We will investigate your claim and help you move through the legal system. We strive to offer compassionate, reliable legal counsel to all of our clients.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Author Photo

Joseph Farzam

Mr. Farzam attended Santa Monica high school and worked at McDonald’s and local coffee shops to support himself. Although he worked 2 or 3 jobs, he valued education greatly and earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Northridge in biology, and attended the prestigious Pepperdine University School of Law. He graduated with high marks and passed the California bar exam on the first try. Mr. Farzam has received the coveted titles of Super Lawyer, Los Angeles Magazine’s Top Lawyers, and has received The Litigator Awards.  He is a proud member of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) and California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA).

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