Most people are aware that state and federal anti-discrimination laws protect them from adverse employment actions on the basis of certain protected classes, such as race, gender, disability, and age. However, fewer know that per a legal doctrine known as associational discrimination, employers may also be barred from discrimination against workers based on a relationship they have with a member of a protected class.
Employers can be held liable for associational discrimination as well as associational retaliation. Such claims can be filed under provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act (federal), as well as the California Fair Housing and Employment Act (FEHA). The ADA explicitly bars excluding or denying equal jobs/benefits to a person who is qualified on the basis of a known disability. It also prohibits discrimination of a qualified person based on their relationship to or association with someone who has a disability.
Associational discrimination laws can also be filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which shields workers on the basis of gender, religion, national origin, and race. As our Los Angeles employment discrimination attorneys can explain though, this law doesn’t expressly bar associative discrimination like the ADA does. However, numerous courts have upheld associational discrimination is applicable under Title VII. In fact, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently affirmed such a case, joining numerous other federal appeals courts in reaching this conclusion. Continue Reading ›