Law Offices of John Michael Jensen

Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination occurs when a worker is fired or laid off for an improper or illegal reason.

Discrimination. “Discriminate” means a failure to treat all persons equally where no reasonable distinction can be found between those favored and those not favored.

Discrimination Under FEHA Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, it is against the law for employers to discriminate against a protected class of employees or job applicants.

A “protected class” refers to a group of people who share similar characteristics and are legally protected from being harassed or discriminated against because of those characteristics. The term often arises in employment discrimination cases where an employer unfairly treats an employee on the basis of, for example, the worker’s age, color or religion.

Protected classes in the State of California include:

  1. race,
  2. religion,
  3. color,
  4. national origin,
  5. ancestry,
  6. physical disability,
  7. mental disability,
  8. medical condition,
  9. genetic information,
  10. marital status,
  11. sex,
  12. gender,
  13. gender identity,
  14. gender expression,
  15. age (age discrimination is discriminating against someone 40 or older),
  16. sexual orientation, and
  17. military and veteran status.

The FEHA applies to (1) public and private employers, (2) labor organizations and affiliations, and (3) employment agencies with 5 or more employees.

If you think that you have been wrongly discriminated against by an employer:

  1. Gather Evidence, Documents, and Records. Write down or record as many aspects of a discriminatory incidents as you can. Retain evidence. Print out emails, performance evaluations, or other evidence that supports your claim.
  2. Prior to filing a lawsuit, you need to file a complaint with the Civil Rights Department or the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.

Adverse Employment Actions, Wrongful Termination and Retaliation under FEHA

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits retaliation which can consist of wrongful termination (such as firing the employee), and similar measures like (1) demotions; (2) pay rate reductions; (3) inferior job assignments; (4) providing inferior benefits; (5) harassment; or (6) similar inappropriate acts or omissions.


Discrimination and Adverse Action Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

A powerful federal employment law, Title VII prohibits workplace discrimination. Title VII focuses on  lost opportunities including termination, lay off, reduction in benefits, reduction in pay rates, failure to promote when qualified, and other adverse employment actions.

However, not all inferior assignments or reduction rise to the level of an actionable adverse employment action:

Retaliation Under Title VII

Retaliation is a lower standard than discrimination under Title VII as the inquiry is whether the employer dissuaded you form making or assisting other to make a claim of discrimination.

Under FEHA, adverse employment actions include  (1) placing you on administrative leave, (2) failing or refusing to promote; (3) arbitrary or unjustified negative performance evaluations and review; (4) changing job assignments in a manner that has adverse consequences’ (5) reducing your schedule work hours; and (6) other employer conduct that is reasonably likely to reduce or impairs your prospects to advance or be promoted.

Hostile Workplace

FEA prohibits  work environment where pervasive offensive or discriminatory behavior is tolerated or accepted especially when the bad behavior (bullying, harassment, slurs, etc.) interferes or prevents you from  fulfilling your job duties.