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  Discrimination is against the law, but, unfortunately, it happens in the work place all too often. Discrimination occurs when an employer, supervisor, manager, or even sometimes a co-worker changes the conditions of employment for the worse because the employee, trainee, intern, or apprentice is a member of a protected class. 

  A protected class is defined in California as the following: race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, military or veteran status. If an employee suffers a loss of pay, demotion, termination, or other negative change in employment status because of that employee’s protected status, then the adverse employment action is discrimination.

In California, the above discrimination laws apply to employers who have five or more employees.



  Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), employer harassment directed toward a member of a protected class is unlawful when the harassment is directed at that person because he or she is a member of a protected class. As with discrimination, protected classes include: race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, military or veteran status.

  Employees are protected from work place harassment but so are: applicants, unpaid interns, volunteers, and independent contractors. Employers must also prevent work place harassment by third parties who are not employees if the employer knows, or should have known, of the harassment.

  Unlike other forms of discrimination, the FEHA anti-harassment law applies to employers who have only one employee or use only one independent contractor. Most often, harassment arises from a hostile work environment that changes the conditions of employment for a member of a protected class. The harassment must be severe or pervasive enough to create an intolerable work environment or prevent the employee from performing his or her job.

  While a member of any protected class can suffer unlawful harassment based on a hostile work environment, usually harassment claims arise from sex based hostility or quid pro quo harassment. A sex base hostile work environment occurs from many types of behavior, such as: sexual questions or comments, sexual sounds or gestures, unwanted touching, lustful staring, pornography or crass pictures, sexual jokes, inappropriate comments on appearance, etc. Quid pro quo harassment is based on exchanging a sex related benefit for a work place benefit or to prevent an adverse employment action, like termination or demotion, from happening.


Call Ward Heinrichs today: 858-292-0792

  If you are an employee who feels that you have suffered discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, please do not hesitate to contact Ward Heinrichs to get more education about your situation. Likewise, employers should feel free to discuss potential work place discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation that may have occurred on the job. Employers should do an impartial investigation and analysis of the situation and take adequate remedial action when necessary.


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“Mr. Heinrichs is truly the most caring attorney I have ever met. After calling for an initial consult and leaving a message, my call was returned with in 30 minutes. He listened to me with out making me feel like a dollar sign and agreed to take on my case. I never had a problem communicating with him. He explained the process and informed me of every next step. I always knew what to expect and what time frame I was looking at. He worked hard on my case and I was happy with the outcome.” Amy L. Lakeside, CA _____________________
“This is the second time I employed the service of this firm and I got a very positive outcome from my labor issue. Mr. Heinrichs is very understanding and professional and his negotiation skills are very effective in lending a voice to any employee that has to face a well defended and lawyered up corporation. I also recommended him to a friend of mine a couple of years back and he was able to also get a decent severance package for that person.”
M. S. Del Mar, CA _____________________
“Ward Heinrichs was very effective in helping me resolve my labor issues with my company. He advised me on settlements and we received the desired outcome very quickly. He also ran through various options on his fees and let me chose the one that worked for me. He is a pleasant and professional attorney and I recommend him highly.” L R. San Diego, CA _____________________
“My name is Jeffrey Walters and I was the lead class representative in a case against Pacific Eagle International Security, Inc., a company that provided armed security guard services for the U.S. Navy. During our case, Ward Heinrichs always responded to my phone calls and many e-mails regarding the many problems we all faced with this case. We worked closely together to prove that California wage law applied to Pacific Eagle, even though the class of security guards worked on property controlled by the Navy. Pacific Eagle believed that only federal wage law applied to it. Without Mr. Heinrichs’ unwavering persistence and total command of the difficult issues in the case, we probably would never have received the money Pacific Eagle owed us. Mr. Heinrichs presented the case through facts obtained through vigorous research. After two years of litigation, Pacific Eagle finally agreed to pay $900,000.00 to settle the class action for unpaid wages, un-reimbursed expenses, penalties, etc. I received $15,000.00 for being one of the class representatives in addition to my share of the money that Pacific Eagle owed me and my fellow security guards. I am very grateful for the hard work and commitment.”
Jeffrey Walters _____________________
“Ward Heinrichs is professional and knows employment law. He is personable, always answers his phone and was available anytime I called. As a person in transition for the very first time in 25 years, he has helped me move forward without any regrets. I would recommend Mr. Heinrichs for any employment related dispute.”
JFM Temecula, Ca. _____________________