California Fair Employment and Housing Act
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), codified as [http://finduslaw.com/california_fair_employment_and_housing_act_feha_government_code_12900_12996 Government Code §§12900 - 12996] , is powerful California statute used to fight
sexual harassmentand other forms of unlawful discriminationin employmentand housing.
The FEHA is the principal
California statuteprohibiting employment discriminationcovering employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, apprenticeship programs and any person or entity who aids, abets, incites, compels, or coerces the doing of a discriminatory act. It prohibits employment discriminationbased on race or color; religion; national origin or ancestry, physical disability; mental disabilityor medical condition; marital status; sex or sexual orientation; age, with respect to persons over the age of 40; and pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The FEHA also prohibits retaliation against for opposing any practice forbidden by the Act or for filing a complaint, testifying, or assisting in proceedings under the FEHA.
Various individual states within the
United Stateshave anti-discrimination laws which sometimes differ from federal law; these laws are provided in addition to the federal law, and may offer more desirable avenues to victims of harassment and discrimination.
The FEHA offers protections that are similar and often more potent that those available under the federal counterpart, [http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/vii.html Title VII] . These protections include, but are not limited to,
attorneyfee awards and reimbursement of certain case related expenses to prevailing plaintiffs. Additionally, well developed state lawapplies different and sometimes less stringent standards for meeting the criteria related to harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
California law and the FEHA also allow for the imposition of
punitive damageswhen a corporate defendant's officers, directors or managing agents engage in harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, or when such persons approve or consciously disregard prohibited conduct by lower-level employees in violation of the rights or safety of the plaintiffor others.
Court of Appealsopinion in the landmark sexual harassment case of [http://caselaw.findlaw.com/data2/californiastatecases/a068499.doc Weeks. v. Baker & McKenzie] is a good example of how the FEHA works to protect employees in California. Numerous other examples exist as well.
Many of the processes offered by FEHA may be used in addition to, or as an alternative to filing a
Whether seeking an investigation under FEHA or a suit in court, the process usually begins with the victim filing an [http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/complaints/Default.aspx complaint] of discrimination with the [http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/ California Department of Fair Employment and Housing] .
Other [http://www.de2.psu.edu/harassment/legal/state.html states] within the United States also have laws prohibiting sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
* [http://finduslaw.com/california_fair_employment_and_housing_act_feha_government_code_12900_12996 California Fair Employment and Housing Act - Government Code §§12900 - 12996]
* [http://www.eeocoffice.com/States/california/california.htm Address, phone, and contact information for California EEOC offices and California state employment agencies.]
* [http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/about/fehaDescription.aspx What is FEHA?]
* [http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/about/statLaws.aspx California Department of Fair Employment and Housing information on the various laws]
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