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Classes Protected Under FEHA

By Edited Feb 10, 2014 0 0

Through the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), the government of California offers better protection to LA employees from discrimination that can occur during the application process, promotion, and while working.

Unfortunately, there are classes that are not protected by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) offered by the federal government. If the discriminated applicant or worker is under any of the following classes, then, they can file protection under FEHA instead of the EEOC.

  • National origin or ancestry
  • Physical/mental disability or any medical condition
  • Race or color
  • Religious creed
  • Marital status
  • Age
  • Sex/gender
  • Sexual orientation

This California statute aims to protect basic employment rights of workers under an employer, employment agencies, labor unions, and those in apprenticeship programs.

If the plaintiff can prove that higher officials or personnel of the company were aware and condoned the discriminatory acts, then punitive damages are likely to be awarded to the victims.

Discrimination often manifests in the form of offensive comments and slurs, unequal compensation among employees of the same job position, as well as any written or oral derogatory remarks made against the plaintiff.

As in any law, there are exceptions that are often overlooked by complainants and so they file complaints that won't have merit and will be eventually rejected. One of the exemptions is the bona fide occupational qualifications that will guide the company personnel in hiring or promoting.

Bona Fide Occupational Qualification

Though no one should be discriminated for the aforementioned attributes, the employer can, however, hire an applicant over the other based on his bona fide occupational qualification.

BFOQs allow the employers to choose which employees to hire based on reasonable factors such as the applicants' age, race, and other similar attributes that will better promote the normalcy of the company's operation.

For example, employee A was not promoted to his desired position because he did not meet the required age limit under the position's existing BFOQ. Employee A may not sue the company for as long as they can prove that the BFOQ is necessary to protect the interest of the company.

However, if employee A was rejected for his age and yet employee B of the same age was promoted for the position, then, employee A must consult with a Los Angeles labor attorney who will review the case and determine whether his client was discriminated against.


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