What California Labor Law Says About Gender Discrimination

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

Find A California Labor Lawyer for Gender Discrimination Claims


Your employer cannot discriminate or retaliate against you on the grounds of your gender identity. California Employment Law explicitly protects employees from getting punished or fired for this discriminatory reason. You might have to consult an Employment Attorney in California to help you forward a claim.


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What is Considered Workplace Gender Discrimination in California?


Employment Gender Discrimination is characterized by an employer making employment-related decisions rooted in discriminatory purposes. These employment decisions include hiring, management, pay, and termination.

Here are examples of this discriminatory behavior:

  1. Refusing to hire an employee for their gender identity

  2. Treating an employee differently for their gender identity, such as:

  3. Firing an employee on the grounds of their gender identity

Poor treatment of an employee can also stem from their perceived gender. This means that though you have not made any declarations in regards to your gender identity, and your employer discriminates against you from their own personal assumptions, their subsequent actions towards you can still count as discriminatory.


Firing an employee on the grounds of their gender is also a case of Wrongful Termination. Employment Laws in California can sometimes be interrelated depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. For better results, consult a California Employment Law Attorney to help you with the case's specifics.


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How Do I Know I'm Experiencing Gender Discrimination at Work?


Discrimination can be overt or covert, so you have to be observant. If you're suspecting bias, chances are, you are already noticing some signs of it in the office.

Here are a few things you might want to look out for:

  1. The use of offensive slurs. The use of slurs is one of the most observable behaviors that clue in on gender discrimination. If you notice your co-workers or boss use these on you, consider going to HR and document these instances while your at it.

  2. Getting passed on for promotions when you're more deserving. Even when you've been hard at work, you might notice that some of your co-workers (whom you think deserve it less than you) are being promoted while you continuously get passed on.

  3. Employer or hiring team refused to hire you for your gender identity. You might have noticed some signs, or they explicitly told you that your gender is one of the reasons why they can't hire you. This is an illegal act, and you have grounds for discrimination when it happens.

  4. Your employer or HR department is ignoring complaints of a hostile work environment. When you are getting treated poorly by co-workers, your first move would be to report them to your boss or HR. If they continuously ignore your complaints even when the treatment affects your capacity to work, you might have a claim.

  5. You are more closely monitored than your co-workers. You might notice that you're co-workers are making the same errors or putting in the same hours as you, but you're the one who is constantly reminded to "do better".

  6. You are getting retaliated against for complaining to HR. This might happen when your employer punishes you (i.e., demotes, cuts your pay, or reassigns you) for making an HR complaint regarding gender discrimination at work.

  7. Additionally, suppose your employer targets you as a form of revenge after making a complaint to HR or employee protection agencies. In that case, you might also have a Retaliation Claim in California.

  8. Cases like these require maneuvering, so you're calculating the appropriate violations that have been committed against you. Consult a California Labor Law Attorney to help you out.

  9. You were fired for discriminatory reasons. If you suspect you were fired for your gender identity, you should file a claim straight away. Your California Employment Attorney will likely consider this a case of Wrongful Termination Claim.


Who Protects Me from Gender Discrimination Claims in California?

Worker protections cover gender discrimination both in federal and state laws. Here are the two most important agencies to keep in mind:

  1. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal employment laws regarding workplace discrimination.

  2. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (FEHA) enforces California Employment Laws regarding discrimination. They also cover a more comprehensive range of protected employees.

Companies must generally employ 15 or more workers to be subject to federal anti-discrimination regulations.


In California, however, any company with five or more employees is subject to anti-discrimination regulations of any kind.


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What Types of Evidence are Required for a Gender Discrimination Claim in California?


As mentioned, discrimination can be overt or covert, so you should document all interactions that connote discrimination. Here are a few things you should consider gathering:

  • Photo and video evidence. Document the use of slurs, bad behavior, and hostile treatment that you're experiencing. Do remember to be careful when you're taking photos or filming other people, as it might escalate arguments or tensions that might put you in harm's way.

  • Electronic correspondences. Document emails, chats, and texts that suggest gender discrimination. Take screenshots of the chat rooms and transfer emails to a single folder for easy access.

  • Pay attention to the language of the correspondence as well. They don't have to directly mention slurs for it to be an act of discrimination.

  • Pay stubs, written notices, and other documents. These documents can prove that your employer reduced your salary, demoted you, or gave you unnecessary warnings of punishment or retaliation. In any case, these can establish a hostile working environment that's making it hard for you to do your job.

Your California Labor Lawyer might also do an investigation of their own, so remember to give them all the necessary facts of your claims to quicken the process.

What is the Statute of Limitations for a Gender Discrimination Claim in California?


You should file a complaint to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (FEHA) within one (1) year of the last discriminatory incident.


FEHA will either handle the claim themselves, or they give you the "permission to sue," where you'll be free to hire your own California Labor Lawyer to settle your case.


Find A Gender Discrimination Attorney in California


Gency.org can help you find a Contingency Lawyer for your Employment Claims in California. No win, no fees! Complete our submission form for a free case review.


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