Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire, to discharge or to terminate, to refuse to select or to bar or discharge an employee from a training program leading to employment, or to discriminate against the person in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of the employee's physical disability, mental disability, or medical condition. Cal. Gov. Code § 12940(a).
FEHA protects employees from termination due to skin color in addition to protecting them from terminations motivated by race. FEHA also protects not only minorities, but members of all races. Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 US 424, 430-31 (1971).
Employee Needs To Prove
The employee belongs to a particular race.
The employee's job performance was satisfactory, or that the employee was qualified for the job which they were not hired for.
The employee was terminated.
Other employees not of the same race were not subjected to the discriminatory actions of the employer. (for example: others employees not of the same race retained similar jobs and the employee who is bringing the claim lost his/her position to an individual of similar qualifications). See L.A. County Office of the Dist. Atty. v. Civil Serv. Com, 55 Cal. App. 4th 187, 201 (1997).
An employee does not need to be aware of precisely why the defendant is terminating the plaintiff, "whether it was his accent, his skin color, his ancestry or his nationality." If a plaintiff claims that he/she was terminated because of his or her "membership in a group which is perceived" as different "when measured against other employees at his workplace, and which is not based on his birthplace alone," it is enough for the plaintiff to have a claim for wrongful termination due to race under FEHA. Sandhu v. Lockheed Missiles & Space Co., 26 Cal. App. 4th 846, 857 (1994).
An employer’s animus towards an employee’s national origin or ancestry may be the basis for the employer’s racially charged termination, even though national origin and ancestry are separately protected classes under the FEHA. Cal. Gov. Code §12940(a). For example: the fact that a plaintiff is Arab, which is normally considered Caucasian, does not preclude the Plaintiff from bringing an employment discrimination claim. Sandhu, supra, 26 Cal. App. 4th at 858.
Employees who are associated with members of a protected class are also protected under the FEHA. For example, a Caucasian female who was given differential treatment by her employer because she married a black man can bring a claim for discrimination under the FEHA. Watson v. Nationwide Insurance Co., 823 F.2d 360, 361-62 (1987).
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If you believe your employer has treated you adversely, including wrongfully terminated you, discriminated against you, retaliated against you, or harassed you, you should Contact Sani Law today to schedule a free initial consultation.