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Message #801 Fair employment practices

mp3 #801 Fair Employment Practices in California (mp3 file)


California's fair employment practices law protects your rights as an employee, against discrimination based on your religion, color, race, national origin, ancestry, sex, physical or mental disability (including aids), medical condition (cancer only), marital status, pregnancy, or age (if you are 40 years or older), or exercise of your rights (i.e. reporting discrimination).

The fair employment practices act forbids private employers, labor unions, employment agencies, and state and local governments from unlawful discrimination in:

1. Hiring,

2. Upgrading or promoting,

3. Discharging or laying off,

4. Setting terms or conditions of employment,

5. Application forms or interviews,

6. Advertising for help,

7. Admission to union membership or dispatching, or

8. Classification of applicants by employment agencies, or referrals for openings.

Almost all employers, private or governmental, and labor unions must comply with this law. However, some employers are not required to comply---those who employ less than five people, non-profit religious associations, and ·non-profit corporations are exempt from these state requirements.

If you feel that you have been unlawfully discriminated against while seeking a job, or during the course of your employment, you may file a complaint with the department of fair employment and housing of the state of California. Such complaints must be filed within one year after the alleged act of discrimination. This time limit may be extended up to 90 additional days, if you first learn of the alleged discriminatory act after expiration of the one year limit.

Once your complaint is filed, an investigation will be conducted to determine if, in fact, there is evidence of discrimination. If the department finds that your complaint is valid, it will first try to stop the unlawful employment practice, by conferences, conciliation, and persuasion. If these efforts fail, and if an unlawful discriminatory practice is found to continue, the department can refer your complaint for an administrative hearing. The hearing officer may then order your employer to:

1. Stop the unlawful practice;

2. Hire, reinstate, or upgrade you to an existing vacancy;

3. Pay you for time lost;

4. Promise to hire or upgrade you in the next job opening for which you are qualified; or

5. Restore you to membership in your union.

More often, however, you will be issued a "right to sue" letter 150 days after your complaint is filed. This document authorizes you to bring a civil suit against your employer and those named in your complaint who discriminated against you. Under California law, you have one year from the date of your "right to sue" letter to file your civil suit for violation of the fair employment law.

Similar fair employment laws exist on the federal level. The federal agency which deals with employment discrimination under these laws is known as the equal employment opportunity commission. However, a shorter 300-day deadline for filing a complaint with EEOC exists.

If you have any question concerning a possible violation of your rights as an employee, you should immediately contact the department of fair employment and housing of the state of California, or the federal employment opportunity commission, or an attorney.

Offices of the California department of fair employment and housing are located in Bakersfield, Fresno, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento; San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Ana and Ventura.

Offices of-the federal equal employment opportunity commission are located in Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco.

State and federal laws forbid your employer from retaliating against you for filing your complaint of employment discrimination.

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