While a variety of federal, state and municipal laws mandate that employers must provide equal access and equal treatment to their employees, it is an unfortunate reality of modern workplaces that this does not always occur.

Shah Sheth helps represent employees where their equal rights have not been honored and protected by employers, whether they be private employers or institutional employers.

The laws mandate and protect against a variety of discrimination practices.  Shah Sheth provides representation on the following issues:

Age Discrimination

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids age discrimination on a federal level and the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) forbids age discrimination on a state level within California.

These laws forbid employers to discriminate based on age in all levels and forms of employment including: hiring, firing, temporary or seasonal work, promotions, training, benefits, and job assignments.

Employers are aware of such laws and will rarely site age as the factor in an employment decision – often they will engage in age discrimination under the guise of payroll cutbacks, budgeting, and systematic layoffs.

The key to the law is realizing that a serious of policies or practices cannot uniformly offer negative impact upon those workers who are older – this is discriminatory.

Shah Sheth will carefully analyze your situation, examine company policies and practices that affect primarily older employees, and determine if a case is a valid age discrimination case.

Racial Discrimination

It is illegal under federal and state laws for an employer to discriminate against one or multiple employees due to being a certain race and/or displaying characteristics identifiable with a certain race such as skin color, hair texture, and facial features.  These same protections also extend to discriminating based on who a person is married to.

These laws also forbid employers from making employment policies or practices, even if they apply to all employees, that have an impact on the employment of people of a certain race or color.

Racial discrimination can occur even when the employer and employee are of the same color or race.

Religious Discrimination

Religious, ethical and moral beliefs are protected by federal and state law and employers cannot discriminate based on a person’s belief system by treating them differently than other employees.

The law also provides that employers may not segregate those of a certain religion to certain jobs such as behind the scenes work for fear of actual or feared customer preference.

Furthermore, employers must make reasonable accommodations, even if they are a minimal burden to a workplace, for employees to practice their religious beliefs in a reasonable fashion.  This can include but is not limited to: flexible scheduling, job reassignments, shift substitutions, and workplace policy modifications.

This reasonable accommodation on the part of the employer does have limitations, however.  Such accommodation cannot infringe upon the efficiency and safety of the workplace, the basic rights of other employees, or the inherent level of burdensome work certain employees must do.  In these instances, employers do not have to accomodate religious beliefs or practices.

Finally, certain dress or grooming practices that are apart of religious practice must be accommodated so long as it does not pose an undue hardship for the employer.  This includes beard grooming practices, headwear practices, and hair practices.  The employee should notify the employer of this situation.

Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination involves an employer treating a female employee unfavorably due to pregnancy, childbirth or any medical conditions that are due to pregnancy or childbirth.

In California, the California Family Rights Act provides workers up to 12 weeks of leave following childbirth – with leave time being paid if the employee has accrued the vacation time.  Employers must continue benefits such as health care and retirement during the leave time.

In order to be eligible for this protection, an employee must have worked for the company for one year prior to the childbirth leave and the company must have at least 50 employees.  Furthermore, an employee must give 30 days notice to an employer for an expected leave of absence due to childbirth.  The up to 12 weeks of leave following childbirth does not need to take place for a continuous period of time.

The primary protection of this law is a guaranteed reinstatement into a position of comparable pay, responsibilities, benefits, privileges, status, geographic location, and work schedule.

A pregnant employee who cannot perform her job due to the pregnancy must be treated by the employer like any other temporarily disabled employee.  The employee has the right to be reassigned to a different position or role – failure to accommodate for a pregnant woman is an act of discrimination.

Disability Discrimination

Disabled workers are covered federally under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and are offered protection under a number of its provisions.  Disabilities are of a wide range and thus the provisions are lengthy and complicated depending upon a certain physical, medical, or mental disability.  Shah Sheth will assist by providing relevant research and insight on specific cases.

The primary point is simple: an employee cannot mistreat or discriminate upon an employee with disabilities so long as they are able to perform their job.  This includes an employer failing to promote, failing to hire, or discharging an employee due to a disability.

So long as providing reasonable accommodation to an employee does not cause undue hardship upon the employer, the employer by law is required to do.  This would include, for instance, providing handicap access to a physically disabled employee.

Sex/Gender Discrimination

If an employer discriminates against or treats one sex or gender differently than the other, they are in violation of both federal and state laws.  As with other cases of discrimination, sex and gender discrimination does is not only a hiring and firing issue, but rather any issue that is related to employment be it raises & promotions, or job assignments and scheduling.

The law through Title VII also protects against the difference between a persons sex and their perceived sense of gender.

Shah Sheth’s Role

Shah Sheth takes client discrimination cases seriously and will provide guidance and expertise backed by legal research and established statutes.  If you believe you have been denied basic rights and protections within your workplace, contact us for a case evaluation.

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**The information found on this website is for educational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice, and your submission here does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Shah Sheth LLP.