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Are employees protected against discrimination in California?

Discrimination in the workplace is illegal, and it's not something you have to stand for. You have protections as an employee that have been given to you by the federal government. Unequal treatment in the workplace can mean you're working hard and getting nowhere fast. You could be passed over for promotions or given harder work than others just because of who you are.

According to the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, no person can be discriminated against due to his or her race, color, religion, sex or national origin when seeking employment or being employed by a business with over 15 employees. Title VII is a federal law, but each state also has its own laws about discrimination on top of those federal regulations.

If you feel you're being discriminated against because of your race, you should be protected by this law. It's unlawful to discriminate against an applicant to a job or a current employee simply because of his or her race or color. On top of that, you should not be employed or have employment decisions made about you due to stereotypes about your race. For instance, if you are African American and want to be a radio DJ, you shouldn't automatically be assumed best to fit the R&B station due to your heritage when your education is in classical music.

Harassment is also prohibited through federal law. Racial "jokes," slurs, derogatory comments and other offensive comments are not legal in the workplace. An attorney experienced in employment issues can determine if you have a case against your employer.

Source: Virginia Tech, "Discrimination in the Workplace," accessed Aug. 20, 2015

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