How do I protect myself from discrimination at work?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How do I protect myself from discrimination at work?

I have worked for a company for 16 years, then 2 years ago my son died. It has been a nightmare ever since. I had to take time off, when I came back and had my eval, it was the first eval with any negative comments. I had gone to HR about my boss after trying to resolve with her and my boss put that on my eval. Ever since then it feels like they are building a case against me in order to let me go. I am a couple years away from retirement, have anxiety and depression, approved service dog to help with PTSD. New Link Destination
day HR did I mention the HR person is my bosses sister? arranged a meeting and we were suppose to talk about xyz. I get there and was totally blindsided as 45 minutes of the conversation had to do with me. It was ugly. What kind of documentation should I be keeping to protect myself.

Asked on February 15, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you don't have a written employment agreement, you are an employee at will. An employee at will may be terminated for any reason not specifically prohibited by law. However, discriminating against or harassing an employee because he or she is over 40 is illegal; it is also illegal to discriminate against or harass someone because they have a disability, which includes persistent (non-temporary) mental conditions impairing their life in some way.
Presumably they know your age (and presumably, though you don't say, you are over 40)--no need to document that.
If you have not already put them on notice of your PTSD, anxiety, depression, etc., inform HR and document (e.g. with a follow-up email) that you informed them. If you need some "reasonable accommodation" (a not expensive or disruptive change in workplace procedure) to better function given your conditions, ask for it (again in writing): employers must provide a *reasonable* accommodation to medical/psychological conditions ("reasonableness" is a key factor--again, it cannot be too expensive or disruptive).
If they take action against you and you are not satisfied or in agreement that it was due to some legitimate (i.e. true) performance issue or other problem at work which you had, contact the federal EEOC or your state's equal/civil rights agency to file a complaint; you may be entitled to compensation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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