A California Employer’s Guide to New Laws 2014: Military and Veteran Status « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles

A California Employer’s Guide to New Laws 2014: Military and Veteran Status

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Protected Against Workplace Discrimination, Harassment

Beginning on January 1, 2014, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) will protect an individual’s “military and veteran status” against employment discrimination and harassment.

This new FEHA provision defines military and veteran status as “a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces Reserve, the United States National Guard, and the California National Guard.”

Administered by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), FEHA also protects race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, age (40 or over), and several other individual characteristics or life conditions from such workplace mistreatment.  Employment discrimination laws are intended to ensure employers make personnel decisions on the basis of ability and performance and not on factors recognized as irrelevant to the conduct of business or management of personnel.

California’s regard for military and veteran status is distinct from the other protected classifications as FEHA specifically reserves the right of employers to ask applicants for any military service and to give preference to those who served or who have served in the military.

FEHA’s anti-discrimination provisions extend to any business regularly employing five or more persons  FEHA’s anti-harassment provisions cover any business regularly employing one or more persons or receiving the services of one or more independent contractors.  

For more information concerning an employer’s obligations under federal or California discrimination laws, contact one of our attorneys Tim Bowles or Cindy Bamforth.