Contrary to the popular belief, employees are not the only victims of workplace discrimination who can pursue a discrimination claim and sue the employer. Job applicants have the legal right to be free of any type of discrimination, including but not limited to race, gender, religious, age, marital status, and other “protected characteristics.”
If you are currently looking for a job in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, you may want to find out what types of hiring discrimination are out there. The failure to take legal action against discrimination during the hiring process may not only cost you the job you are being interviewed for, but also take a toll on your emotional, psychological and even physical health.
Before you start sending out your CVs and before you do your first job interview, our Los Angeles discrimination attorney at the JML Law advises you to learn what types of hiring discrimination are there.
What are the protected characteristics?
Like employees in California, job applicants are equally protected by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 from discrimination on the part of their prospective employers. This is not the full list of protected characteristics that are most commonly discriminated against in California:
- Race or skin color
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity and gender expression
- National origin and ancestry
- Marital status and pregnancy
- Medical conditions and disability
- Veteran or military status
- Political affiliations, views or activities.
Denying employment just because your spouse works there
If you are applying for a job in a company where your spouse already works, the employer cannot reject your job application only because of your spouse’s employment. Such actions are prohibited by California’s employment laws.
Our Los Angeles discrimination lawyer warns, however, that it may be legal for an employer to require you to work in a different department than your spouse in order to minimize the risk of workplace conflicts and/or bias.
Previous salary and conviction questions are outlawed
Beginning on January 1, 2018, employers in Los Angeles and all across California are prohibited from asking job applicants about their previous salary or their conviction history. In case of the latter, it is now illegal to conduct a background check before a conditional offer is made. And even after the offer is made, employers are prohibited from making employment decisions merely based on the conviction history (though there are a couple of exceptions when the applicant’s convictions have a direct relation to his/her expected duties).
Your social media username and password
While California’s employment laws do not prohibit employers from Googling your name and checking your social media profiles before hiring you, it is illegal for employers to ask their employees and job applicants to disclose their social media usernames and passwords. If handing over your username and password is one of the requirements for you to be hired, you should speak to a Los Angeles discrimination attorney immediately.
English-only policies are illegal, sometimes
While most employers in Los Angeles and all across California impose English-only policies lawfully (the requirements for job applicants to speak fluent English is justified based on the nature of his/her job duties), it is unlawful to use the English-only policy to discriminate against people who do not speak English well or because of their national origin (for example, when speaking fluent English has no relation to the job applicant’s duties whatsoever).
Contact the JML Law to find out whether or not your prospective employer’s actions during the hiring process constitute discrimination. Schedule a free consultation by calling our offices at 818-610-8800 or send us an email.