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Articles Posted in Other Discrimination

We have been living with COVID-19 for more than a year now. One very important development that, for many, represents a huge “light at the end of the tunnel” is the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccinations, though, maybe problematic for many workers. Some may have religious objections and others many ethical objections. Still others may have medical reasons why they cannot receive the vaccine. An employer’s mandate of a worker’s vaccination may, in certain circumstances, represent a form of religious discrimination or disability discrimination in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act. If you think you’ve been the target of workplace discrimination for refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, you should contact an experienced Oakland employment lawyer promptly to discuss your legal options.

Back on March 4, 2021, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing published an update to its DFEH Employment Information on COVID-19. The updated material was specifically targeted toward the issue of vaccinations.

In that updated document, the department confirmed that generally speaking, employers may require that their employees get one of the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines. What employers may not do, however, is demand that all employees get vaccinated, even those who presented the employer with an objection based upon his/her disability or sincerely-held religious belief.

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The law is frequently slow to change but, as society evolves, the law often follows along eventually. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)’s protections against workplace discrimination are no exception. For example, sexual orientation became a protected class in 2000 and an amendment added gender identity/expression as a protected class in 2004. As the law is ever-changing, it is vitally important to make sure that, if you’ve suffered harm from discrimination on the job, you’re working with an experienced Oakland employment discrimination attorney who has an in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of all the relevant federal and California discrimination laws.

A Riverside County Republican senator has proposed a bill that, if it becomes law, would add yet another class that is protected against discrimination under the FEHA, according to East County Today. That class would be political affiliation. The “Diversity of Thought Act,” introduced by state Sen. Melissa Melendez, would insert “political affiliation” into the FEHA in three places. Those are Section 12920, Section 12940, and Section 12955 of the California Government Code.

The bill represents, according to the senator, an important protection against a rising societal problem, which is the so-called “cancel culture,” in which people may suffer a variety of harms, including employment discrimination, because of their political views, beliefs, and affiliations, according to the report.

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