Employee Rights

Federal and state laws and regulations protect employee rights. Applicants to and employees of most private employers, state and local governments, educational institutions, employment agencies and labor organizations are protected under the following federal laws:

Race, Color, Religion, Sex, National Origin 

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, prohibits discrimination in
hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment, on the basis or race, color, religion, sex or national origin.


The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, protects qualified applicants and employees with disabilities from discrimination in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, job training, fringe benefits, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment on the basis of disability. The law also requires that covered entities provide qualified applicants and employees with disabilities with reasonable accommodations that do not impose undue hardship.


The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, protects applicants and employees 40 years of age or older from discrimination on the basis of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment.

Sex (Wages) 

In addition to sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (see above), the Equal Pay Act of 1963, as amended, prohibits sex discrimination in payment of wages to women and men performing substantially equal work in the same establishment. Retaliation against a person who files a charge of discrimination, participates in an investigation, or opposes an unlawful employment practice is prohibited by all of these federal laws.

Other federal laws and regulations may apply to employers holding federal contracts or subcontracts, or programs. Inquiries and requests for additional information about federal discrimination laws should be addressed to: 

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
131 M. Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20507
Tel: (202) 663-4900
Website: http://www.eeoc.gov/

EEOC – San Francisco District Office
350 The Embarcadero, Suite 500 San Francisco, CA 94105-1260
Tel: 1-800-669-4000
Fax: (415) 356-5126

EEOC – Los Angeles District Office
Roybal Federal Building 255 East Temple St., 4th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: 1-800-669-4000
Fax: (213) 894-1118
Or, locate the nearest field office: http://www.eeoc.gov/field/index.cfm

State Harassment and Discrimination 

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act of 1959 protects employees against harassment or discrimination in employment because of sex, race, color, religious creed, national origin, sexual orientation, disability (mental and physical, including HIV and AIDS), medical condition, age, marital status, as well as family, medical care or pregnancy disability leave needs. Sexual harassment is defined as unsolicited and unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, physical, or visual conduct of a sexual nature that occurs and creates an intimidating, hostile or otherwise offensive working environment.

The law provides for administrative fines and for remedies for individuals, which may include hiring, back pay, promotion, reinstatement, cease-and-desist order, punitive damages, and damages for emotional distress.

Additional information about California harassment laws and related issues can be obtained through: 

Department of Fair Employment and Housing
1-800-884-1684 (Within California)
1-916-478-7200 (Outside California)
Website: http://www.dfeh.ca.gov

Additional information and guidelines on employee rights and other labor management issues can be found by consulting the following source: 

California Labor Law Digest Kit
California Chamber of Commerce
1215 K Street, Suite 1400
Sacramento, CA 95814
Toll-free telephone in the United States: (800) 331-8877
Tel: (916) 444-6670
Fax: (916) 444-6685
Labor Law Helpline: (916) 444-6670
Website: http://www.calbizcentral.com