When Californians think about workplace discrimination, they often think of the major forms of discrimination, including race, ethnicity, gender, and age. Yet, the term “discrimination” may encompass a much broader realm than that. For this reason, those who believe they have been discriminated against at work need to fully understand their legal rights and how best to act on them.
To see an example, one need look no further than a recently decided case in California where a man was awarded $3 million for discrimination and retaliation he faced in the workplace. According to the lawsuit, the Caltrans worker had allergies that were specific to certain chemicals found in cleaning solutions and perfumes. Although he filed formal complaints with his supervisors and his local equal employment office, his supervisors continued to move his workspace and they even tried to make him lose appeal over his place of work.
The lawsuit claimed that even though an inspection found that Caltrans continued to expose the worker to chemicals to which he was allergic, the man’s employer continued to subject him to them and even gave him work duties that appeared to be a demotion. The man even claimed that he found a lumbar support in his cubicle to be soaked in perfume. The court agreed that the man had been discriminated against, and that his complaints spurred retaliation and a hostile work environment. He was awarded approximately $3 million in damages, but Caltrans is considering an appeal.
Those who believe they have been discriminated against need to ensure that they protect their legal rights. Many times, this includes filing a lawsuit after other measures, such as filing a formal complaint, don’t pan out. Succeeding on one of these claims could result in the recovery of compensation for damages suffered, and, perhaps even reinstatement to a position that was lost as a result of retaliation. Those who want to learn more about how to pursue one of these claims can discuss the matter with an employment law attorney.
Source: The Sacramento Bee, “State worker’s bosses ignored his allergies. Now he’s $3 million richer,” Adam Ashton, May 17, 2017