Discrimination in California workplaces is illegal, and the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing monitors employers and enforces the laws. Job applicants and employees are protected from discrimination under these laws. FEHA applies to private and public employers, along with employment agencies and labor organizations. The following business practices are included in the laws that bar workplace discrimination:
- Advertisements for vacancies
- Job applications, prescreening, interviews and appointments
- Hiring and promoting employees
- Transferring, separating and terminating workers
- Working conditions
- Employee participation in apprenticeship programs or training
- Participation in unions or employee organizations
FEHA mandates that no employee, contractor, applicant, volunteer or unpaid intern may be harassed based on protected categories. This applies to all workplaces in. California, regardless of the number of employees.
The following aspects of discrimination protection are based on the number of employees:
- Employers who have five or more workers may not use protected categories to discriminate against employees or job applicants, nor may they retaliate if employees assert their legal rights.
- Employers of five or more employees must allow disability leave of up to four months for employees whose disabilities are linked to childbirth, pregnancy or linked medical conditions.
- When the number of employees is 20 or more, the New Parent Leave Act becomes effective. Under this law, parents must receive job-protected leave upon the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care.
- Employers of more than 50 employees must comply with the California Family Rights Act that mandates job-protection and leave for childbirth, adoption or placement of a child in foster care.
- Employers of more than 50 employees must also provide job-protected leave when an employee, his or her child, spouse or family member has a serious health condition.
- Under DFEH, employers who have 50 or more employees must provide supervisors training in sexual harassment prevention.
Employees in California may file complaints if employers do not comply with any laws that protect against discrimination and sexual harassment.