Discrimination in the workplace can occur in many different forms. It can be obvious and overt, or subtle and concealed behind the scenes. Regardless of the form it takes, employment discrimination is prohibited under both state and federal laws.

If you have been the victim of employment discrimination, you can get help from a highly qualified San Jose employment law attorney from the Law Office of Michael Hsueh. Our practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of employees and fighting for the compensation they deserve when their rights have been violated. We represent individuals in Silicon Valley and the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Mateo Counties.


Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), workers in California are protected from employment discrimination based on actual or perceived:

  • Age (40 or over)
  • Ancestry
  • Color
  • National origin (including language use restrictions)
  • Race
  • Religion (including religious practices pertaining to grooming and dress)
  • Sex (this includes pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and related medical conditions)
  • Physical or mental disability (including HIV and AIDS)
  • Genetic information
  • Medical condition (cancer or a history or record of cancer; genetic characteristics)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender
  • Gender identity (how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves)
  • Gender expression (external appearance of one’s gender identity)
  • Marital status


There are several different types of workplace discrimination. Disparate treatment involves employer actions that single out an individual employee based on a protected class. For example, if an employee is singled out because of his accent, this could be disparate treatment based on national origin. Disparate impact involves policies adopted by employers that have an adverse effect on a protected class of employee, such as women during pregnancy and childbirth. 

Harassment means harassing or intimidating conduct because of a protected characteristic, such as sex. Harassment can be so severe or pervasive that it creates a hostile work environment, forcing an employee to resign a position. In the case of sexual harassment, discrimination can assume the form of quid pro quo, when a supervisor conditions continued employment, promotion or advancement, and other employment benefits on acceptance of sexual advances.


Discrimination on the basis of protected characteristics is prohibited in all aspects of employment, including:

  • Recruitment
  • Job advertisements
  • Testing
  • Hiring and firing
  • Assignment and classification
  • Transfers and promotions
  • Training and apprenticeships
  • Layoffs and recalls
  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Use of facilities
  • Disability leave
  • Retirement plans
  • Any other terms or conditions of employment


The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)  places a number of prohibitions and requirements on employers to prevent discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Among other things, employers in California are:

  • Required to take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment;
  • Required to reasonably accommodate job applicants’ or employees’ religious beliefs and practices, including dress, hair style, facial hair, body hair, jewelry, and artifacts;
  • Required to reasonably accommodate applicants or employees with disabilities to make it possible for them to perform the essential functions of the job;
  • Required to provide reasonable accommodations for an employee for pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, as advised by the employee’s healthcare provider;
  • Required to provide up to 4 months leave for employees who are disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; and
  • Prohibited from allowing discrimination against any employee or applicant in hiring, firing, promotions, assignments, or any term, privilege, or condition of employment.


If you have been the victim of discrimination in the workplace or when applying for a job, your best course of action is to consult with an experienced employment discrimination lawyer. At the Law Office of Michael Hsueh, our practice is devoted exclusively to employment matters and we are well-versed in employment discrimination cases.

When you work with us, your case will be handled by your attorney, not a paralegal or associate. You will receive personalized attention, a legal strategy individually tailored to your case, and prompt responses when you contact Michael Hsueh by phone or by email. Michael Hsueh places a high value on his client-attorney relationships. 

Contact our office by telephone or by using our online form. Attorney Michael Hsueh will be happy to meet with you for a free case consultation. If your legal rights have been violated, you may be entitled to file a claim for compensation. We can tell you if you have a valid case and what damages you may be entitled to claim. Our law office is dedicated to helping employees enforce their rights!