A Top Rated Employment Law Firm Serving Anaheim, California
The anaheim employment attorneys at Stephen Danz and Associates represents employees throughout California. Our experienced attorneys cover cases within cities in Northern California and Southern California as the State’s courts are as specialized and diverse as the State’s landscape. In Anaheim, California, our employment lawyers are highly specialized and handle complex employment lawsuits where private individuals trust us to bring forth their cases in local, state and federal courts.
In general, discrimination claims form the basis of many wrongful termination suits. Accordingly, to protect the employees who bring the discrimination to light, our legislators implemented statutes that protect employees from discrimination. Our firm has expertise in both discrimination statutes such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Each of these statutes has built-in anti-discrimination protections. Other anti-discrimination statutes that we often see include the following:
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) (29 USC §206(d))
The Civil Rights Act of 1866 (42 USC §1981)
The Civil Rights Act of 1871 (42 USC §1983)
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008
The Unruh Civil Rights Act (CC §51)
The Ralph Civil Rights Act of 1976 (CC §51.7) and
The Tom Bane Civil Rights Act (CC §52.1).
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)
Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It also prohibits retaliation against an employee for opposing any practice that violates Title VII or for making a charge or participating in any investigation, proceeding, or hearing under Title VII.
In addition, Title VII protects individuals “employed by an employer” as well as job applicants. On the other hand, independent contractors are not protected. A direct employment relationship is not a prerequisite to Title VII protection if the employer exercises sufficient power over an individual’s employment opportunities because controlling the employee is one of the fundamental ways to prove that an employment relationship exists. See the Dynamex case.
Individuals not protected under Title VII include persons elected to state or local office and their appointed personal staff, policymakers, and advisers; and aliens employed outside the United States or its territories.
An employee plaintiff may not pursue a civil action under Title VII without exhausting his or her administrative remedies. This means that the potential plaintiff must file a charge alleging a violation of Title VII with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and receive a right-to-sue letter. A plaintiff bringing a Title VII action must file a civil complaint within 90 days after the EEOC’s giving notice of the right to sue. Contact us for more information on the process.
Statute of Limitation for Charges Filed with EEOC
Please note that a charge alleging a violation of Title VII must be filed with the EEOC within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act. The plaintiff may also initially file a Title VII charge with the DFEH. If this is completed, the limitations period is extended to 300 days after the alleged discriminatory act or 30 days after notice that the DFEH has terminated proceedings, whichever is earlier. The 300-day period begins to run from the date the employee knew or should have known of the allegedly discriminatory act by the employer.
When Does “Discrimination” Occur
Each discriminatory or retaliatory act “occurs” when it actually happens and starts a new clock for filing charges. With respect to discrimination related to compensation in violation of Title VII, a discriminatory act “occurs” when a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice is adopted by the employer, when an individual becomes subject to that discriminatory decision or practice, or when an individual is affected by application of that discriminatory decision or practice (i.e., each time the individual is paid).
When a plaintiff alleges “disparate impact” under Title VII, if he or she failed to file a timely charge challenging the adoption of an employer’s practice, the plaintiff may assert a disparate-impact claim in a timely charge challenging the employer’s later application of that practice.
Even if an employee knew about earlier acts and did not file charges, the earlier acts do not prohibit that employee from filing charges about related acts, or from using the earlier acts as background evidence for a timely claim.
Even if the employee alleges a series of related discriminatory or retaliatory acts that may be considered violations, one or more of which occurred within the 300-day period, acts that occurred outside the statutory period cannot be considered for liability purposes. Because a hostile environment claim is “comprised of a series of separate acts that collectively constitute one ‘unlawful employment practice,'” however, it does not matter that some of the acts fall outside the statutory time period.
Proving Discrimination Under Title VII
As in other civil cases, the plaintiff in a Title VII action has the burden of proof.
Title VII claims typically fall into five broad categories:
(1) Individual “disparate treatment” cases, where the plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the employer intentionally treated him or her less favorably than other employees because of a characteristic protected by Title VII.
(2) Retaliation cases, where the plaintiff must prove that the employer intentionally retaliated against him or her for opposing discrimination or engaging in activities protected by Title VII.
(3) “Disparate impact” or “adverse impact” cases, where the plaintiff must show that the employer’s facially neutral employment practice has an unfavorable impact on a protected class and is not justified by any claimed business necessity.
(4) Class-wide “pattern and practice” or “systemic disparate treatment” cases, where the plaintiffs must prove a “pattern or practice” of intentional discrimination against a protected class, typically by showing a statistical disparity between protected class members and comparably qualified members of the majority group, and evidence of individual instances of discrimination.
(5) Hostile environment cases, where the employee proves the existence of a “hostile environment,” i.e., that ongoing and persistent harassment has altered the conditions of his or her employment.