Discriminated Against at Work? We’ll Fight For Your Rights

“Discrimination” is when you’re treated less favorably than others because of a certain characteristic. But not all discrimination is illegal. Discrimination is only unlawful if it’s based on a characteristic protected by law.

As a California worker, you’re protected by some of the most extensive employment laws in the country. Race, disability, gender, and age are just some of the “protected characteristics” under California law. 

Think you’ve been a victim of unlawful workplace discrimination, harassment, or retaliation?

  • Disparate treatment, or deliberately treating people differently because of their race. Slurs, “jokes” and other offensive behavior that creates a racially hostile work environment fall into this category.
  • Disparate impact, or excluding members of a certain class or race from certain jobs or promotions. Company policies that adversely affect a particular minority group fall into this category.

Protected Characteristics in California

In California, it is illegal to discriminate, harass, demote or wrongfully terminated employees on the basis of: 

  • Race
  • National origin/ancestry
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Gender, gender identity, sex and sexual orientation
  • Physical Disability 
  • Mental Disability 
  • Medical Condition
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetic information
  • Marital status/parental status
  • Military or Veteran Status
  • Criminal Conviction History

“National origin” broadly refers to the country where someone was born, but it can also refer to a person’s ancestry, cultural background, or physical or linguistic characteristics. National origin discrimination occurs when an employer puts an employee or group of employees at a disadvantage because of their nationality or perceived nationality.

Common situations that constitute national origin discrimination include:

    • Adopting English-only rules when such rules are not necessary to maintain workplace safety or not essential to the employee’s job
    • Discrimination in recruitment, promotion or payment on the basis of a person’s national origin or cultural heritage
    • Discriminating against an individual because of his or her accent (accent discrimination) or because of physical characteristics commonly associated with a particular nationality or group, even if the employee is not of that nationality at all
    • Taking action against an employee who merely associates with a particular national group, regardless of whether he or she is a member of that group

What happens if your employer discriminates against you?

Employers who violate California’s anti-discrimination laws are subject to civil damages and penalties. If you’re a victim of discrimination, you may receive:


  • backpay;
  • compensation for harm caused by the discrimination;
  • amounts lost from unfair firing, refusal to promote, or unequal pay;
  • attorney fees;
  • litigation expenses;
  • reinstatement in your job, or projected earnings if reinstatement isn’t feasible;
  • compensation for emotional pain or suffering; and/or
  • punitive damages to punish the employer for its wrongdoing.

Have you been a victim of discrimination at work?


If you’ve been discriminated against, don’t go it alone. 


Employment law is what we do — it’s what we’re passionate about, and it’s the sole focus of our law practice. 


We’re committed to effectively representing the rights of employees across the state of California — because we believe that everyone has the right to earn a living and provide for their family, free of unlawful discrimination and harrassment. 


Our firm has won millions of dollars for employees all over California, and we only take cases on contingency. This means we don’t get paid unless we win your case. Our fees come out of the court verdict or settlement with the company, so you don’t pay anything out of pocket. 


If you’d like our help evaluating your case and understanding the options available to you, we would love to help. 

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- John

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"I highly recommend Mr. Whitehead and his firm. Not only was he a true professional but he is the only attorney who I have ever worked with that actually worked with me, taking the time to tell me my options. He is also the only attorney I have worked for that 100% followed through on his word. He returned calls, kept me up to date and his staff was exceptional. If you are looking for an Employment Attorney, he is the one to hire!" - Brooke

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"I was having trouble with my ex-employer that put me in an ethically compromised position. There seemed to be no way out. I wasn’t sure if I needed an attorney, but I was referred to Whitehead Employment Law. It turned out to be the best decision I could have made. I got the best possible outcome thanks to Jacob and his team. I don’t know if I will ever need an employment Attorney again but if I do I know who to turn to. Thanks guys, you lifted a tremendous weight off my shoulders."

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When No One Else Could

"Jacob really came through when no one else would. I highly recommend him and his staff treated me with empathy and compassion after an unfair termination."

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- Adrianna
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