Employees of any age, race, sex, gender identity, religious beliefs and physical or mental disability, under law, should receive fair and balanced treatment in all regards. However, discrimination in the workplace occurs all over the country, including California. Many argue that employment discrimination is the driving force behind inequality in the labor market.
State laws strictly prohibit discrimination in the workplace. According to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Fair Employment and Housing Act applies to all types of employers, including public and private employers, labor organizations and employment agencies. The FEHA prohibits harassment in all work environments — even those holding less than five employees. Victims of workplace discrimination may file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Similar to many legal procedures, individuals must file complaints within one year of the last incident of discrimination.
Although statutes such as the FEHA work to protect and prevent employment discrimination, discrimination in the workplace is a common occurrence. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports on California’s recent issue with gender discrimination at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego. Female professors have sued the institute for giving prefence to men in pay, and although Salk officials have disputed such claims, the professors refuse to back down. The female professors filing the lawsuit against Salk point out that the chances of a female employee rising to full-time professor status is rare, and when one does, she more likely than not endures numerous discriminatory reprisals minimizing success. In addition to this inbalance, female professors also report an unequal distribution of resources, such as donor funding and laboratory staff.