Under the law, the California Fair Pay Act and California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) make it illegal for a company to discriminate against a person because of their gender, gender identity, or gender expression. Employers and other employees may have preconceived notions and gender-based stereotypes that generalize a person’s qualifications, job performance, physical abilities, work habits, and productivity. Therefore, laws prohibiting gender discrimination protect all employees by providing equal work opportunities.
Some employees witness open or apparent forms of gender discrimination, but it might not be so clear other times. That is because businesses and employees typically know that gender discrimination at work is illegal in California and are careful not to say anything discriminatory in front of others.
There are many examples of gender discrimination, such as:
- Failing to promote
- Paying less or denying equal pay
- Exclusions from a meeting
- Sharing offensive content
- Forcing employees to quit
While these are the most common forms, discrimination can come in many other forms. It may be comments behind one’s back or harassing an individual based on their gender. If you believe you are a victim of workplace gender discrimination in Los Angeles, contact an attorney immediately.
As mentioned above, gender discrimination is a violation of California state and federal laws. The Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces sex discrimination laws at the federal level. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) typically handles these violations at the state level. While both protect employees, state law generally allows employees more time to file a complaint.
However, sex and gender discrimination cases usually go through several administrative remedies before an employee can file a complaint. For example, they may have to first go through the DFEH complaint process. On the other hand, a Los Angeles gender discrimination lawyer may be able to file a complaint with the DFEH and immediately obtain a right to sue notice without going through the administrative process.
What to Expect from the Complaint Process with the DFEH
In most cases, employees must file a gender discrimination complaint with the DFEH within three years of the last discrimination incident. Filing a complaint will initiate a pre-complaint inquiry, which will help determine whether the DFEH can accept a complaint.
Once the department receives the complaint, an investigator will contact you within 60 days to further discuss the details. After speaking with the representative, they will decide whether they can accept the complaint. If they cannot, the department will dismiss the case. If the representative accepts the pre-complaint, they will draft a complaint for your employer. At this point, you may also file a complaint with the EEOC.
Once the employer responds to the complaint, the DFEH will review their answer. In most cases, the department will offer resolution services to both the employee and their employer. However, the DFEH will begin an investigation if the two parties cannot reach a resolution. The investigation will determine whether there was a violation of California laws. If the investigator finds there was a violation, the case will go to the DFEH Legal Division.
If the employer and employee cannot resolve the situation with the Legal Division, the department may file a lawsuit on your behalf or close the case. If the investigator does not discover a violation, the department will immediately close the case. Once a case closes, you can file a complaint with the superior court.
The damages you may receive for a gender discrimination lawsuit will depend on the type of discrimination and the extent of harm. After thoroughly reviewing your case, an attorney might be able to recover the following damages:
- Back pay
- Front pay
- Higher income from a promotion
- Bonus payments
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Employees might also receive punitive damages. These damages act as a way to further punish the wrongdoer and to deter the employer from engaging in similar behaviors in the future. Additionally, another remedy might be reinstatement. If a company fired an employee based on their gender, a judge might require the employer to rehire them although, you may not want to return to a discriminatory workplace.
Managers and businesses cannot retaliate against those who file a gender discrimination claim in Los Angeles. The FEHA protects the person who filed the complaint and those who:
- Oppose workplace harassment
- Oppose gender discrimination against other employees
- Report gender discrimination
- Assist with investigations
If an employer takes action against someone for any of the above actions, they may be able to file an additional complaint with the DFEH or file a general lawsuit against the business for retaliation or wrongful termination.
Every discrimination case is unique and comes with its own set of challenges. Therefore, you must speak to the Los Angeles discrimination attorneys at Blackstone Law as soon as possible. While we cannot promise a quick fix to your situation, we will keep you informed and updated as your case progresses while we work to hold the liable parties accountable for their actions. Call (310) 956-4054 or complete our contact form today to learn more about our services or schedule a free consultation.