Types of Discrimination

This section discusses the types of discrimination prohibited by federal law, state law or both. The subject matter is organized alphabetically by protected class. Unless otherwise indicated, federal and state law provide the same protection for each protected class. For more information on protected classes, see Protected Classes.​​​​​​​

  • Age

    AgeBoth federal and state laws prohibit discrimination based on age.  More »

  • AIDS or HIV-Positive Status

    AIDS or HIV-Positive StatusCalifornia law prohibits employers from requiring HIV testing as a condition of employment and from rejecting, terminating from employment or denying insurance coverage to individuals exposed to the AIDS virus.  More »

  • Gender and Sex

    Gender and SexBoth state and federal laws prohibit discrimination in the workplace based on a person’s sex.  More »

  • Gender Identity and Expression

    Gender Identity and ExpressionEmployers need to be aware of their obligations relating to gender identity protections in the workplace, such as protections for transgender workers.  More »

    ​Read about 2016 legislation and agency actions.
  • Gender Wage Equality - Fair Pay Act

    Gender Wage Equality - Fair Pay ActCalifornia recently enacted the Fair Pay Act, which revises and expands previous state law (Labor Code section 1197.5) relating to gender pay inequality or disparity and provides greater protections than federal law.   More »

    ​Read about 2016 legislation.
  • Restroom Issues

    Restroom IssuesEmployers may have questions on a common workplace issue involving transgender workers; which restroom to use.  More »

    ​Re​ad about a new 2016 agency action and 2015 court cases.
  • Harassment

    HarassmentAlthough sexual harassment receives the most attention and publicity, harassment on the basis of any protected class status violates federal and state law and is considered a form of discrimination.  More »

  • Marital Status

    Marital StatusState law prohibits discrimination on the basis of marital status.  More »

  • Medical Condition and Genetic Information

    Medical Condition and Genetic InformationFederal and state laws protect an individual with a disability or medical condition that affects his/her ability to perform a job’s essential functions or those of a job for which they are applying.  More »

  • Race

    RaceTitle VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and FEHA both prohibit race discrimination in all aspects of employment relationships.  More »

  • Military and Veteran Status

    Military and Veteran StatusIn 2014, the Fair Employment and Housing Act was amended to add “military and veteran status” to the list of categories protected from employment discrimination.  More »

    ​R​ead about a new 2016 court case.
  • National Origin

    National Origin“National origin” has been broadly interpreted to mean the country that the applicant, employee or his/her ancestors came from.  More »

  • Pregnancy

    PregnancyRegardless of the number of people you employ, you cannot harass or discriminate against employees or applicants because of pregnancy.  More »

  • Religion

    ReligionYou cannot deny employment or employment benefits to any employee because of his/her religious creed or lack of one.  More »

    ​​Read about 2016 legislation and a 2015 court case.​
  • Sexual Orientation

    Sexual OrientationEmployees in California are protected from employment discrimination based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation.  More »

    ​Read​ about a new 2016 agency action.