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What is the California Fair Employment Housing Act (FEHA) and what does it cover?

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is the primary law that provides employees with protection from discrimination, retaliation and harassment in employment. All employment provisions of FEHA's anti-discrimination provisions apply to all employers with five or more full-time or part-time employees. In addition, FEHA's anti-harassment provisions apply to all employers with only one or more employees.

Many of the same nondiscrimination and harassment principles of federal law also apply under FEHA. FEHA provides protection from discrimination, retaliation and harassment in all terms and conditions of employment based on all of the following protected categories:

  • Race (including traits historically associated with race, including but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles).
  • Color.
  • Religion (includes religious dress and grooming practices).
  • Sex/gender (includes pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and/or related medical conditions).
  • Reproductive health decision-making.
  • Gender identity, gender expression.
  • Sexual orientation.
  • Marital status.
  • Medical condition (genetic characteristics, cancer or a record or history of cancer).
  • Military or veteran status.
  • National origin (includes language use and possession of a driver's license issued to persons unable to prove their presence in the United States is authorized under federal law).
  • Ancestry.
  • Disability (mental and physical, including HIV/AIDS, cancer, and genetic characteristics).
  • Genetic information.
  • Request for family care leave.
  • Request for leave for an employee's own serious health condition.
  • Request for Pregnancy Disability Leave.
  • Retaliation for reporting patient abuse in tax‐supported institutions.
  • Age (over 40).
  • Criminal background (Fair Chance Act).

FEHA also prohibits retaliation against any person for making a complaint under FEHA, for assisting another in making such a complaint or for opposing any action in the workplace that would constitute a violation of FEHA.

Source: Discrimination is Against the Law  


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