Friday, September 19, 2008

Protected Category in Work Discrimination

Contrary to popular belief, an act is considered discriminatory and illegal only if it is based on the so-called protected category as stated by law. This means that an act is deemed actionable only under the discrimination laws listed in these categories.

What are these protected categories?

Under federal and state laws, these categories include the following:

• Discrimination based on race

• Discrimination based on disability

• Discrimination based on gender

• Discrimination based on religion

• Discrimination based on pregnancy

• Equal pay and compensation discrimination

• Sexual harassment

• Retaliation

Hence, if you think a discriminatory act has been committed based on all these protected categories, it is only proper to file a complaint to seek redress.

A California employee has the right to speak to representatives of the office of the California Labor Commissioner or any other government or law enforcement agency about any issues affecting your working conditions. On the other hand, an employer cannot fire, demote, suspend or discipline a worker or employee for answering any questions or providing any information to a government agency.

A discrimination complaint must be filed within six months after the occurrence of the alleged discriminatory and/or retaliatory action. However, complaints filed under Labor Code sections 230(c) (one year), 230.1 (one year), 1197.5 (no later than two years after the cause of action occurs), and Health and Safety Code section 1596.88 (not later than 90 days after action as to which complaint is made) are exempted from this statute of limitation.