San Francisco Discrimination Lawyers

Have you been discriminated against while working in San Francisco? Through a combination of federal, state, and local laws, discrimination based on protected categories such as gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation in the workplace is illegal. Through the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), California has some of the most comprehensive anti-discrimination laws in the country and local city laws may provide even further protection; San Francisco, for example, has a law which prohibits discrimination of an employee because of his or her height or weight.

At Rukin Hyland in San Francisco, our attorneys represent those who have suffered the following types of discrimination at work:


discrimination by type

What Workers are Protected by Anti-Discrimination Laws?

Workers not Protected

Starting a Discrimination Case in San Francisco

It is unlawful to treat an employee differently on account of their protected status in recruitment, hiring, promotion, work assignments, wages, benefits, leave, discipline, and termination. To prove a discrimination claim, one generally must show that:

As stated above, an employee must do more than show that an employer’s decision is unfair or wrong — employees must have evidence that the action was motivated by discriminatory bias. For example, when an employer’s stated reason for firing an employee is workplace misconduct, an employee may prove discrimination in part by showing that the employer did not fire others who engaged in the same misconduct.

The following types of conduct could be considered discriminatory:


Hiring and Promotion


Discipline, Demotion, and Discharge


Can A Supervisor’s Comments Provide Evidence of Discriminatory Intent?

It is sometimes challenging to prove discriminatory intent.  Evidence is required, obviously, but what kind?  Courts have often talked about two kinds of evidence: direct and indirect.

Of course, a supervisor’s discriminatory comments may provide strong direct evidence of discrimination.  When a supervisor exhibits discriminatory bias, it may be reasonable to conclude that the employment decision was motivated by unlawful bias.  Id. at 1039-40 (citing Mondero v. Salt River Project, 400 F.3d 1207, 1213 (9th Cir. 2005).  In fact, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that even “a single discriminatory comment by a plaintiff’s supervisor or decision maker is sufficient to preclude summary judgment for the employer.”  Id. at 1039.

Statute of Limitations

Under both California and federal law, an employee who believes that he or she experienced discrimination first must file with the state or federal administrative agency before filing a lawsuit in court, pursuant to the FEHA’s statutory requirements. In California, employees have one year from discriminatory act to file with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).  Alternatively, an employee may file a claim with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 300 days of the discriminatory act if the charge also is covered by a state or local anti-discrimination law.  Anyone who is considering filing a discrimination claim should speak with an attorney to determine whether or not their employer has engaged in possible employment discrimination and what legal options they may have.

Damages in Discrimination Cases

An employee who wins a discrimination case can receive the following civil damages:

Contact Our San Francisco Attorneys Today

Anti-discrimination laws exist to ensure that workers are treated fairly by their employers. If you believe you have been discriminated by a company or business in San Francisco, remember that there are strict deadlines on pursuing claims. Contact Rukin Hyland today to discuss the specifics of your case and let us help you fight for your rights.

“The expertise of Peter Rukin specifically, complemented by that of the firm, was extremely valuable in providing me with the tools required to successfully navigate the situation. Their professionalism with respect to each nuance of the situation, including the time-sensitive nature of it, is very appreciated.” – Adam