© 2018 by Shepherd & Associates

California Law Prohibits Workplace Discrimination And Harassment

Updated: Apr 3, 2018



THE CALIFORNIA FAIR EMPLOYMENT AND

HOUSING ACT (GOVERNMENT CODE

SECTIONS 12900 THROUGH 12996) AND ITS

IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS (CALIFORNIA

CODE OF REGULATIONS, TITLE 2, SECTIONS

11000 THROUGH 11141):

Prohibit harassment of employees, applicants, unpaid

interns, volunteers, and independent contractors

by any persons and require employers to take

all reasonable steps to prevent harassment. This

includes a prohibition against sexual harassment,

gender harassment, harassment based on pregnancy,

childbirth, breastfeeding and/or related medical

conditions, as well as harassment based on all other

characteristics listed above.


Require that all employers provide information to

each of their employees on the nature, illegality,

and legal remedies that apply to sexual harassment.

Employers may either develop their own publications,

which must meet standards set forth in California

Government Code section 12950, or use a brochure

from DFEH.


Require employers with 50 or more employees

and all public entities to provide sexual harassment

and abusive conduct prevention training for all

supervisors.


Prohibit employers from limiting or prohibiting

the use of any language in any workplace unless

justified by business necessity. The employer must

notify employees of the language restriction and

consequences for violation. Also prohibits employers

from discriminating against an applicant or employee

because they possess a driver’s license issued to a

person who is unable to prove that their presence in

the United States is authorized under federal law.

Require employers to reasonably accommodate

an employee, unpaid intern, or job applicant’s

religious beliefs and practices, including the

wearing or carrying of religious clothing, jewelry

or artifacts, and hair styles, facial hair, or body hair,

which are part of an individual’s observance of their

religious beliefs.


Require employers to reasonably accommodate

employees or job applicants with disabilities to enable

them to perform the essential functions of a job.


FILING A COMPLAINT

The law provides for remedies for individuals who

experience prohibited discrimination or harassment

in the workplace. These remedies include hiring,

front pay, back pay, promotion, reinstatement, ceaseand-

desist orders, expert witness fees, reasonable

attorney’s fees and costs, punitive damages, and

emotional distress damages.


Job applicants, unpaid interns, and employees: If

you believe you have experienced discrimination

or harassment you may file a complaint with DFEH.

Independent contractors and volunteers: If you believe

you have been harassed, you may file a complaint

with DFEH.


Complaints must be filed within one year of the last act

of discrimination/harassment or, for victims who are

under the age of 18, not later than one year after the

victim’s eighteenth birthday.


Permit job applicants, unpaid interns, volunteers, and

employees to file complaints with DFEH against an

employer, employment agency, or labor union that

fails to grant equal employment as required by law.

Prohibit discrimination against any job applicant,

unpaid intern, or employee in hiring, promotions,

assignments, termination, or any term, condition,

or privilege of employment.


Require employers, employment agencies, and

unions to preserve applications, personnel records,

and employment referral records for a minimum of

two years.


Require employers to provide leaves of up to four

months to employees disabled because of pregnancy,

childbirth, or a related medical condition.

Require an employer to provide reasonable

accommodations requested by an employee, on the

advice of their health care provider, related to their

pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.

Require employers of 50 or more persons to allow

eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks leave

in a 12-month period for the birth of a child; the

placement of a child for adoption or foster care;

for an employee’s own serious health condition; or

to care for a parent, spouse, or child with a serious

health condition. The law also requires employers

to post a notice informing employees of their family

and medical leave rights.


Require employment agencies to serve all applicants

equally, refuse discriminatory job orders, and prohibit

employers and employment agencies from making

discriminatory pre-hiring inquiries or publishing helpwanted

advertisements that express a discriminatory

hiring preference.


Prohibit unions from discriminating in member

admissions or dispatching members to jobs.

Prohibit retaliation against a person who opposes,

reports, or assists another person to oppose

unlawful discrimination.