What is FEHA - Glendale Employment Lawyer

What is FEHA?

The Fair Employment and Housing Act, or FEHA, is a law that protects employees from discrimination, harassment and retaliation at work. It applies to all employers that have five or more full-time or part-time workers – and the anti-harassment provisions in the law apply to all employers with one or more employees.

What is FEHA?

FEHA prevents discrimination related to:

The law also protects people from retaliation if they make a complaint, help another person make a complaint, or oppose any action in the workplace that violates the law.

When is it Legal for Employers to Discriminate?

What is FEHAWhen it comes to disability, the only times an employer is allowed to “discriminate” is when the person is unable to perform the essential functions of the job, and there’s no reasonable accommodation that the employer could make to enable the person to perform the job; and when the person would create an imminent and substantial danger to him- or herself, or to others, by performing the job and when it’s impossible to make a reasonable accommodation to remove or reduce the danger.

In cases such as these, what the employer is doing is not considered discrimination because the person could either not perform the job’s duties and isn’t qualified or because the person would pose a danger to other employees. Employers aren’t required to put employees at risk.

However, it’s not legal for employers to discriminate because there’s a possibility of future harm to the person or to others; it’s also illegal to discriminate because hiring someone with a disability could raise the employer’s insurance rates.

What Else FEHA Does

FEHA’s protections are generally more encompassing (they cover more ground for more people) than federal protections are.

In 2016, new regulations went into effect to strengthen the Fair Housing Employment and Housing Act. Those new regulations:

  • Require employers to create anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies
  • Require employers to distribute written copies of their policies to employees in English and other languages that are spoken by at least 10 percent of the workforce
  • Require employers to conduct training regarding discrimination and harassment

Does FEHA Only Cover Employers?

FEHA doesn’t only cover employers. It also covers labor organizations, employment bureaus and people who aid and abet violations of the act.

Examples of Discrimination Covered by FEHA

FEHA prohibits all kinds of employment discrimination. Use this table of examples to determine whether something similar has happened to you – and whether your employer may have violated the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Type of Discrimination


Age Treating a young worker differently from an older worker


Inappropriate language used to describe workers of obviously different ages


Language that suggests an employer is looking for someone young, like “recent college graduate” or “first-time employment”

Ancestry Harassment based on a person’s perceived ancestry


Being paid less than other workers because of your ancestry or national origin


Harassment due to cultural traits or clothing, such as wearing a hijab

Color Racial slurs, or offensive or derogatory remarks about your race of color


An employer’s refusal to hire you because of the color of your skin


Harassment from a supervisor, a co-worker or even a client or customer based on your skin color

Disability An employer’s refusal to hire you based on an actual or perceived disability that would not prevent you from performing the tasks assigned with a job


An employer’s refusal to make reasonable accommodations so you can perform your job


Harassment that includes things like offensive remarks about a disability or about your ability to perform a job

Gender Not being hired or being given a lower-paying position because of your sex, such as when an employer only hires people of a certain gender for certain jobs


Being evaluated more harshly or held to different (or higher) standards because you don’t act or present yourself according to traditional ideals of femininity or masculinity


Being paid less than a person of a different gender when that person is similarly or less-qualified than you are

Genetic information An employer refusing to hire you because you carry a certain gene or there’s an inherited disorder present in your family


An employer firing you or making any other employment decisions based on a hereditary disease that manifests itself

Marital status An employer’s refusal to hire you or promote you (or make any other employment decision) because you’re married or single, which can include saying something like, “This isn’t a job for people with families” or “We’re looking for a good family man for this job”


Direct or indirect questions about your marital status during the hiring process, such as, “You’re wearing an engagement ring – are you getting married soon?”

Medical conditions An employer’s failure to make reasonable accommodations for your medical condition


An employer’s refusal to allow you time off for medical treatments (although the time off does not necessarily need to be paid time)

Military or veteran status An employer making any employment decision, including declining to hire, choosing to fire or lay off, or declining to promote you because you have to take time off for military training


An employer refusing to let you return to your former job after returning from military service

National origin Harassment due to your actual or perceived national origin


An employer declining to hire you because you don’t look like the rest of the employees or because you don’t have physical features or a surname that employer associates with its business


Adverse employment decisions due to your national origin, such as harsher disciplinary measures or moving you into a different position within the company because of your national origin

Race Racial slurs, or offensive or derogatory remarks about your race of color, as well as the display of racially offensive symbols


An employer’s failure to hire you because of your race


Harassment in the workplace that’s based on your race

Religion An employer’s failure to make religious accommodations, such as giving you Friday nights and Saturdays off because your religion prohibits you from working


An employer imposing more or different work requirements on you because you’re part of a certain religion


Excluding you from hiring because you have characteristics or a name associated with a particular religion

Sex (to include pregnancy) An employer’s failure to pay equally qualified workers the same amount of money for the same work on the basis of sex


An employer’s failure to hire someone because the employer believes he or she won’t fit into a traditionally male or traditionally female workplace


An employer’s failure to promote someone because the employer believes other employees won’t respect his or her authority on the basis of gender


Harassment on the basis of pregnancy


Failure to provide reasonable accommodations for a pregnant employee

Sexual orientation Giving workers of a certain sexual orientation different performance reviews than other workers with the same performance receive


Promoting workers of one sexual orientation over another, even though all parties are equally qualified


Discrimination or harassment due to your perceived or actual sexual orientation


Making disparaging remarks or threats, or otherwise engaging in harassment based on your actual or perceived sexual orientation, provided the remarks, threats or harassment results in a hostile work environment


Did Your Employer Violate FEHA?

While there’s no guarantee that you have a case, if you believe your employer violated the Fair Employment and Housing Act in any way, you should talk to an employment lawyer in Glendale. Your attorney can evaluate your case to find out what happened by examining evidence and asking you questions.

If you do have a case, your lawyer will pursue damages to compensate you for what you’ve lost.

Call us at 818-617-9706 or toll-free at 800-774-4163 for a complimentary consultation. We want to hear what happened to you and determine whether you have a case. If you do, we may be able to get you the compensation you deserve.

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