Discrimination Lawyers in Ventura, Fighting Against Injustice
Discriminatory practices and harassment in the workplace often cross outside the boundaries of legality. Fair employment practices are mandatory, and each Ventura discrimination attorney at Murphy & Murphy Law Offices is ready to help protect your rights.
Prejudice is an unfortunate aspect that continues to exist in our society. We take pride in the strides we have made throughout history — such as the Fair Housing Act and the Rehabilitation Act — but there is still plenty of work that needs to be done. Both state and federal law provide protections against discriminatory actions in the workplace — striving to ensure employment decisions are based on individual merits and not individual traits — but this is sometimes still not enough.
No matter how hard we try as a society, there are individuals who are denied equal opportunity at work because of the color of their skin, the religious group they belong to, and even where their ancestors come from. Hardworking and well-qualified individuals miss out on promotions, get terminated, or deal with mistreatment for something they have no control over simply because certain individuals don’t take employment discrimination laws seriously.
This is wrong and can lead to significant legal consequences. No one should have to come into a hostile work environment every day. If you’re experiencing such behaviors, you may want to consider talking with a discrimination lawyer in Ventura today. You might have a variety of legal rights and remedies available. These may be able to ensure you receive fair treatment and get compensated for things like emotional distress, lost wages, and having to deal with harassment.
What Are the Different Types of Workplace Discrimination?
Employment discrimination is not inherently illegal. Only if discriminatory behavior is based on a protected characteristic would it violate federal and California law. There are a variety of classes and characteristics protected by these statutes. They include:
- National Origin
- Genetic information
- Gender identity
- Sexual orientation
Discrimination on the basis of one or more of these characteristics is prohibited by a variety of federal and state laws. These include the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Federal statutes are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The Department of Fair Employment and Housing upholds California law regarding discrimination.
Being a member of a protected class is very important because, without it, discrimination is not illegal. For example, discriminatory actions based on a person’s favorite athletic team are perfectly legal. Imagine you apply for a job and — during the job interview — you’re asked who you want to win the Super Bowl. As you give your honest answer, you feel the mood shift. In fact, you feel like you’re dealing with harassment even prior to getting the job, and before you know it, the interviewer is showing you the door and no job offer comes.
You’re confident you were denied the job because of your sporting interests. Is what happened to you wrong? Yes. Is it illegal? No. Because employment discrimination focuses on individuals in a protected class, and who you root for during football games does not fall into one of those classes. Identifying whether the discrimination you’ve encountered at work is on the basis of your membership in a protected class is something a Ventura discrimination attorney can help you with.
They can also assist you in figuring out ways to prove discrimination — typically the single most challenging aspect of getting legal relief in such situations. Unfortunately, those who engage in employment discrimination often aren’t new at it. They frequently have spent years engaging in such behaviors and coming up with fake reasons to hide their real motivations for discriminatory conduct.
Why It’s Important to Report Workplace Discrimination
If you’re the victim of employment discrimination, you might be conflicted on whether to report it. Your concerns are certainly legitimate, but reporting discrimination is always the right thing to do. Most importantly, reporting such behaviors could fix the problem. Maybe that promotion you couldn’t get because of your age or disability is now possible as a result of your complaint to human resources. Perhaps the racist jokes or sly comments about disability your coworker keeps making finally come to an end. In some instances, reporting the problem will simply make it go away.
Second, even if reporting the discrimination changes nothing, it’s an important step if you might take further legal action down the road. In many employment discrimination lawsuits, employers can escape liability if they can show that the employee failed to properly follow office discrimination reporting procedures. The reasoning behind this is that an employer shouldn’t be liable for misbehavior it was unaware of. There are some exceptions to this rule, but you don’t want to end up in court with your fingers crossed that one of these exceptions will apply.
Third, reporting employment discrimination can provide an additional legal remedy for the victim. One of the biggest fears of reporting discrimination at work is the potential for retaliation. Retaliation occurs when an employee suffers from an adverse employment action for exercising a legal right. An adverse employment action includes actions such as being fired, demoted, receiving lower pay, or suffering from disciplinary action. A legal right refers to an activity the law provides for, such as notifying a company of discriminatory acts through its reporting procedure or to an appropriate government agency.
As long as the victim of discrimination reports it in good faith, he or she is protected from retaliation. Should retaliation occur, it will usually create its own legal cause of action — even if a court concludes that there was no underlying employment discrimination in the first place.
What to Do If You Are the Victim of Workplace Discrimination
The first thing to do if you’re a victim of employment discrimination is to keep a record of every relevant incident at work. You should keep track of what happened when it happened, and who was involved. Also, take note of anyone else who can serve as a witness to support your claim of discrimination. Should you decide to bring a lawsuit or report the discrimination to the California Equal Rights Commission, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or just your designated contact at work, these records will be invaluable.
You should also consult with an employment discrimination attorney in Ventura, CA. Laws related to discriminatory practices are complex, and there are often a variety of state, local, and federal laws that come into play. As a result, there are a number of rules, remedies, and statutory hoops you may need to jump through to obtain legal relief. Fortunately, you don’t have to file an employment discrimination case just to get an idea of where you currently stand. Murphy & Murphy Law Offices provides free initial consultations to help you understand your rights and what remedies are available for the harassment and other inappropriate behaviors you’ve had to deal with.
What Are the Damages for California Employment Discrimination Cases?
When workers face discrimination in their place of employment, there are a variety of remedies available. It’s impossible to estimate what your potential settlement or court award could be without a legal consultation. After all, cases can vary based on whether harassment occurred while you were employed or in the hiring process, focused on gender or disability, and whether the employer knew what was going on or not. These differences in situations can bring different laws into play, along with affecting liability.
Even with the difficulty of predicting an exact amount of damages, the fact is that court awards can be substantial. For instance, a California case involving discrimination based on race ended with a verdict of nearly $140 million against Tesla. A significant portion of this award came from punitive damages — which amounted to $130 million in the settlement. Such damages focus on punishing a liable party rather than simply compensating the monetary loss. This is done in the hope that further misconduct will not occur. In addition to punitive damages, the following are all possible outcomes in an employment discrimination case:
- Costs related to job searching or training
- Lost wages and benefits
- Compensation for emotional distress, physical pain, loss of reputation, etc.
- Legal expenses
An employment discrimination attorney in Ventura, CA, can help you figure out which of these damages you may be entitled to. Keep in mind that compensation for “lost wages and benefits” doesn’t just apply in cases of wrongful termination. If you were denied a promotion ahead of other employees based on a protected characteristic, you can receive financial recovery for the wages and benefits you would have gotten had you received the promotion. Obviously, these cases are quite complex — so it’s vital that you understand your rights before moving forward.
At Murphy & Murphy Law Offices, we’re here to help you do just that. Discrimination has no business in the workplace, but if you become one of the victims that still face such harassment and prejudice, it’s important that you speak with a Ventura injury attorney. No one should have to go through this, but if you do, you shouldn’t have to seek justice on your own. Let us help.
Are You In Need of a Discrimination Lawyer in Ventura, CA?
If you’re wondering whether you need an employment discrimination lawyer, the chances are high that you would benefit from one. California law protects individuals from discriminatory acts in the workplace — going even further than certain federal laws. Fair employment practices are required by law, and if you feel you’re not being treated equally, it cannot hurt to speak with an attorney to learn about your rights and the potential for compensation.
At Murphy & Murphy Law Offices, we believe there’s no excuse for employment discrimination. That’s why we strive to help anyone who is dealing with a hostile work environment. The fact is that you shouldn’t have to pay just to find out whether your rights are being violated. That’s why we provide a free consultation to help you better understand the best way to move forward. Contact us by calling (805) 330-3393 to speak directly with an employment discrimination lawyer in Ventura today.
You don’t have to be alone in this — especially with California and federal law on your side.