Threats or Violence Based on Disability, Race, Gender, or Sexual Orientation

Employers and employees are not allowed to discriminate, wrongfully terminate, or retaliate against their fellow employees.

In addition, though, all individuals in California in a labor position have a right to be free from any violence or intimidation by threat of violence against them on the basis of the protected status for which they were discriminated against. This important freedom is codified in Civil Code § 51.7, otherwise known as the Ralph Civil Rights Act.

Specifically, the statute reads: “(a) All persons within the jurisdiction of this state have the right to be free from any violence, or intimidation by threat of violence, committed against their persons or property because of political affiliation, or on account of any characteristic [such as sex, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, or sexual orientation] or position in a labor dispute, or because another person perceives them to have one or more of those characteristics. The identification in this subdivision of particular bases of discrimination is illustrative rather than restrictive.” Civil Code § 51.7 (Edited for clarity)

Accordingly, if an employee is part of a protected class, such as a specific race, then an employer cannot discriminate against him or her on the basis of that classification by using violence or threats of violence, under Civil Code § 51.7. For instance, let’s assume the employee is African American, and the employer is Caucasian. The Caucasian employer cannot, on the basis of the employee’s race, refuse to promote the employee under FEHA. Moreover, if the Caucasian employer also uses violence or intimidation in his or her discriminatory actions against the employee, such as by threatening to hurt the African American employee if the employee tells anyone why he was denied a promotion, then Civil Code § 51.7 would likely enable another cause of action against the discriminating employer for having done so.

Another example: if an employee had a disability of some kind, for example, and another employee threatened to injure them if the disabled employee required an accommodation or time off, then on top of having discriminated against the disabled employee, the threat would most likely be a violation of Civil Code § 51.7 because a physical threat was used in concert with the discrimination.

Contact Us

If you’re right to be free from violence or threatened violence at your workplace has been violated, contact the renowned Los Angeles attorneys at Kokozian Law Firm, APC. 323-857-5900, who work with Civil Code § 51.7 violations. Ask about our free initial consultation.