Businessman yelling.In the state of California, Discrimination claims, which seem cut and dry, can be complicated.  To begin with, one needs to understand the differences between Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, referred to as FEHA.

So why would somebody chose one law over the other and end up in state court rather than federal court?

What is discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act?

To begin with, in order to file suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the employer must have 15 or more employees.

Unlawful grounds for discrimination under Title VII are:

  • Race
  • Color;
  • Religion;
  • Sex; or
  • National Origin

So what are unlawful employment practices under Title VII? 

Discriminating against a person relating to their terms and conditions of employment.  More specifically, failing or refusing to hire, terminating employment, and discrimination of compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

Who can be liable for FEHA discrimination?

In order to file suit under California ‘s FEHA, the employer only needs to have 5 or more employees.    To begin with, FEHA applies to any employer who employs 5 or more employees.  The types of people/entities that can be liable are:

  • Employers
  • Labor Organizations;
  • Employment Agencies
  • Apprenticeship programs (internships)
  • C. §12940 (a – o)

FEHA doesn’t apply to independent contractors, but many people are not properly classified as independent contractors.  Call us now for a free consultation to discuss this issue further.

What is Unlawful Discrimination under California’s FEHA?

  • Race;
  • Religious Creed;
  • Color;
  • National Origin;
  • Ancestry
  • Physical or mental disability;
  • Medical Condition;
  • Genetic Information;
  • Marital Status;
  • Sex;
  • Gender;
  • Gender Identity;
  • Gender Expression;
  • Sexual Orientation;
  • Military and/or veteran status;
  • Age (over 40;
  • Pregnancy/Childbirth, which includes breastfeeding and other related medical conditions.
    • Code §12940

Filing suit under FEHA in a California state court may offer certain benefits that the federal courts do not allow; namely, unlimited compensatory and punitive damages and the ability to win without  a unanimous jury verdict.  Call now for a free consultation so we can help you understand the differences between the two options so you can weigh your options.