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. 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 employees who have suffered unlawful discrimination at work for the following types of claims:


San Francisco discrimination lawyer

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, an employee generally must show that:

The following types of conduct could be considered discriminatory:


Hiring and Promotion


Discipline, Demotion, and Discharge


Discrimination occurs when an individual endures harassing behaviors from supervisors, employees, customers, or commercial contacts that are (1) unwelcome and (2) so severe and pervasive that they “alter the conditions of the individual’s employment” by creating a hostile or abusive work environment. In evaluating whether a case would rise to the level of unlawful harassment, factors that are considered include whether the conduct was hostile and/or offensive, whether the individual was physically threatened or intimidated, how frequently the misconduct was repeated, and the context in which the harassment occurred.

Pursuing a Discrimination Claim

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 other employees who engaged in the same misconduct.

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.  Employees may wish to speak with an attorney to determine whether or not their employer has engaged in possible employment discrimination and what legal options they may have.

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 decisionmaker is sufficient to preclude summary judgment for the employer.”  Id. at 1039.

What Must Employers Do to Prevent Discrimination?

The FEHA requires that all California employers take affirmative steps to prevent discrimination in the workplace. This includes maintaining and distributing a written anti-discrimination policy that must:

How to Avoid Discrimination in the Workplace

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recommends the following proactive measures designed to avoid inadvertently discriminating against groups:

Contact Our San Francisco Attorneys Today

Keep in mind that there are strict deadlines on pursuing discrimination claims. In California, employees have one year from the discriminatory act to file a charge with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), a necessary prerequisite to filing a lawsuit. Contact our office today to discuss the specifics of your discrimination case and let us fight for your rights as an employee.