You will need to consult in-depth with an employment attorney for a reliable evaluation of your claim and sound advice as to your best course of action. You need a consultation with a lawyer or lawyers who are specifically experienced in public sector employment law. Public employment law and processes are very different in some very critical respects from private sector employment, so make sure that any attorney on whom you rely for advice or representation has had significant litigation success with public sector employment -- and try hard for one with lots of experience with the State of CA employment system. Good luck to you.
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If you can prove that the decision to not promote you is race, age, or color then the employer is engaging in an unlawful promotion practice. However, keep in mind that if there are legitimate reasons for not promoting you unrelated to your age, race or color, and that is the reason for the decisions that have been made, it is not unlawful simply because you are of that age, race or color.
This is the kind of thing that is very fact intensive. You need to go into great detail with an attorney to determine if you have a meritorious case or not. You would be well served to locate and consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible to explore your facts and determine your options. I would suggest you look either on this site in the Find a Lawyer section, or go to www.cela.org, the home page for the California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization whose members are dedicated to the representation of employees against their employers.
Good luck to you.
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