As our Los Angeles employment attorneys can explain, the viability of a California employment lawsuit depends on a myriad of factors, including:
- The exact nature of the adverse action and how substantially you were impacted.
- Whether the motivation for the adverse action was – in whole or in part – a protected characteristic or activity.
- The strength of the evidence you have of the employer’s unlawful motivation for the adverse action. (This includes whether others similarly situated were treated the same way or differently.)
- When these adverse actions were taken.
This is not to say you need to have every single detail in order for your initial consultation with an employment attorney, but it’s a good idea to have basic answers so that your attorney knows where to start.
What Are Protected Characteristics and Actions?
The simple fact of being slighted at work isn’t necessarily cause for litigation. In general, it must involve certain characteristics or actions that are protected by law.
- Examples of protected statuses include: Religion, Race, Age (over 40), Disability, Sex, Gender/Gender Identity, Marital Status, Ancestry, Veteran Status, Military Status, Medical Condition, Genetic Information, Color, or Pregnancy/Any Related Condition.
- Examples of protected activities include: Serving on a jury, Taking necessary family leave, Attending court and/or seeking care as a victim of a crime, Sharing your salary/wage information with others, Participating in a workplace complaint, Taking time off to fulfill first responder duties, Exercising lactation rights, and Whistleblowing.
These aren’t necessarily exhaustive lists; it’s best to consult with an attorney if you aren’t sure whether your unfair treatment was unlawful.
Is All Unfair Workplace Treatment Unlawful?
No, not all unfair workplace treatment in California is against the law. California is an at-will state when it comes to employment law. That means your employer can fire you for almost any reason without consequences. However, the exceptions arise when those adverse actions are taken as a result of some protected status or action.
So for example, if you are fired because of your age, but you are under the age of 40, your age is not a protected characteristic under the law. It’s not fair, but it’s not illegal. Continue Reading ›