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Bryant Whitten, LLP

California ranks in top 3 for workplace discrimination complaints

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's annual report claims their last fiscal year saw a record number of discrimination complaints received by the EEOC across the United States. California came in third place for number of workplace discrimination complaints, which ranged from retaliation to race, sex, religion, disability, family medical history and age discrimination.

A total number of 99,947 complaints of unfair workplace practices were received by the agency, with California accounting for 7.2 percent of all complaints. Of course California, like the top two states listed, are the more populated states in the U.S., however the range in the types of complaints lodged in California were similar across the country. The state has one of the nation's largest agencies for civil rights, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Just this year, the agency started combining some of its branch offices in cost-cutting measures.

In a year that saw record numbers of employment discrimination claims, it is unfortunate that costs are being cut in programs designed to protect Californians from discrimination in the workplace and housing sectors.

Some of the statistics for California's numbers are rather surprising. Almost 45 percent of complaints received claimed employer retaliation against an employee who had complained about bias. One-third of the complaints were related to race-based claims, 29 percent on disability and 27 percent were gender discrimination complaints.

The EEOC's annual performance report states last year's numbers were the highest since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted, which launched the commission. No one should have to experience discrimination in the workplace and California has some of the toughest anti-discrimination employment laws in the country.

Don't simply accept that workplace discrimination, bias or a hostile work environment is something you have to live with, learn your rights and what you can do to protect those rights. Consult with an employment law attorney if you feel your rights may have been violated.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "California ranks high for workplace discrimination complaints," Tiffany Hsu, May 17, 2012

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