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Important facts about age discrimination in the workplace

Older employees may unfortunately discover that age discrimination is still alive and well, even in a tolerant and accepting state like California. There are many federal and state laws preventing employers from discriminating against job applicants and employees because of age, but perhaps the most important one is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The purpose of the ADEA is to protect applicants and employees who are 40 years old or older from discrimination.

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act makes the ADEA protections even stronger. It is crucial for you to know your rights, so keep reading for more information on your protections and what to do if you suspect age discrimination.

Employment discrimination laws include mental disabilities

When you hear of disability discrimination in the workplace, you may think of people who are deaf or in wheelchairs. However, California law covers more than just physical issues. It also includes mental disabilities.

Understanding your protections can help you determine if your employer is discriminating against you because of a mental disability, in which case you need to speak to a lawyer.

Common forms of pregnancy discrimination

As an expectant mother and an employee in California, you have certain rights and protections, and your employer may not terminate or otherwise discriminate against you because of your condition. Regrettably, pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is a serious problem affecting many women across California and the United States, even though Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects you.

You may be a victim of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace if you experience the following.

What is reasonable employee accomodation for disabilities?

Both federal and California law prohibit discriminating against employees with disabilities. In practice, this means employers may not refuse to hire candidates because of their disability. They may also not treat an employee worse than others due to a disability.

Common types of discrimination include reducing pay, denying promotion or training opportunities and even termination. But what if the disability really does affect the employee's ability to do the job? California's Fair Employment and Housing Act mandates that the employer provide reasonable accommodation for the disability. It also lists several types of possible accommodations.

What is California law on age discrimination?

The retirement age has increased over the years. Some work longer to establish the financial stability necessary for the lifestyle they desire once they retire. Others want to continue working for the physical, emotional and intellectual benefits it offers. Regardless of your reason for staying in the workforce longer, age discrimination can make it difficult for you to achieve your goal. It is important that you know what age discrimination is and how to recognize it so you can take action if it happens to you.

The key phrase in laws banning religious discrimination

The California Workplace Religious Freedom Act became effective on Jan. 1, 2013. Both state and federal laws that guarantee religious freedom in the workplace are similar in scope. However, the California statute addresses the matter with stronger language. In addition, there is one phrase in both federal and state law that draws different interpretations.

Dealing with workplace retaliation

For many employees thinking about reporting employment discrimination, potential retaliation by an employer is a serious concern. Employees fear that complaining will result in worse treatment and even job loss. However, just as state and federal laws forbid discrimination, they also prohibit employers from retaliating. This may not stop a particular employer from breaking the law, but it does mean you have legal recourse against such conduct.

Do I need to disclose whether I've had cancer?

When you apply for jobs in California, you may wonder whether you should disclose a history of cancer. The answer, generally, is no, and if potential employers ask questions such as, "How much sick leave have you taken in the past five years?" you are well within your rights not to answer. In fact, such a question is illegal. This holds true no matter the type of job you are applying for, be it marketing specialist, actress, fundraising director or executive assistant.

Frequently asked questions about the Family Medical Leave Act

When an unexpected family or medical problem comes up and you are forced to leave your job for a period of time, concerns about keeping that job can weigh heavily on your mind. Fortunately, the Family Medical Leave Act is in place to provide job-protected, unpaid leave while safeguarding health insurance coverage as if you had never left the job.

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