Written by attorney Rodney Mesriani

The Main Differences between Title VII and California FEHA

Although the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) share the same principle — to prevent undue discrimination in the workplace — these laws do have differences. Accordingly, Los Angeles employers, employees, and applicants should be able to pinpoint the differences between the two to avoid interchanging their provisions with one another and to keep confusion at bay. First off, Title VII is a federal law that was enacted in 1964 to curb incidences of workplace discrimination in the United States. Meanwhile, FEHA is a California state law that aims to prevent discrimination in the workplace, housing, and public accommodation.

Despite having the same goal, Title VII and FEHA have differences from one another, and they are the following:

Protected classes

Classes that are protected under Title are race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, and genetic information. FEHA also has the same protected classes (except for genetic information) but with the addition of gender identity and expression, disability, age (40 years old and above), and marital status. Covered employers Employers that are covered by Title VII are those with business ventures that employ at least 15 employees in a year, regardless whether government- or private-owned. Meanwhile, FEHA covers California-based government and private employers with five or more employees in a year. Protected individuals Title VII protects any worker and applicant who is working or applying for a Title VII-covered employer in any area in which the United States has a jurisdiction over. Meanwhile, FEHA only protects employees and applicants who are working or applying for a FEHA-covered California-based employer. Governing agency The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that is mandated to enforce federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against employees and applicants, like Title VII. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), on the other hand, is responsible for investigating and mediating on workplace discrimination-related complaints that are within the jurisdiction of the State of California. However, EEOC also has the mandate to investigate and mediate on California employment discrimination charges. Accordingly, Los Angeles employees who are not sure where they should file their complaint should consult with a Los Angeles discrimination lawyer for them to be guided and enlightened on the decisions and actions that they must perform.

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