Discrimination Defined

Legally, the term “discrimination” covers only actions that are taken against people because they belong to certain protected classes. To discriminate means to treat those people in some way differently than other people who are not in the same class. For more information on protected classes in California, see Protected Classes.

Discrimination happens in many ways, some of which may not be intentional. For example, a supervisor does not usually decide to overlook a person for promotion because of race or gender. Certain acts can constitute unlawful discrimination because of their effect, regardless of the motivation for these acts.​

  • Protected Classes

    Protected ClassesIn California, discrimination based on the following protected classes is prohibited:  More »

    ​​Read about a new 2016 agency action.
  • Unequal (Disparate) Treatment

    Unequal (Disparate) TreatmentDisparate treatment discrimination can occur when an employee who belongs to a protected class is treated differently, specifically because of his/her protected class status.   More »

    ​Read about a new 2016 agency action.
  • Unequal (Disparate) Impact

    Unequal (Disparate) ImpactAn employment practice that appears to be neutral but, in practice, discriminates against protected classes creates a disparate impact, which violates anti-discrimination laws.  More »

  • Discrimination Law Posting Requirements

    Discrimination Law Posting RequirementsYou are required to post federal and state anti-discrimination posters. You must post them in a conspicuous place that is available to employees and applicants.   More »