July 12, 2022

As a worker in the State of California, you might already know it’s against the law for an employer to discriminate against you due to such factors as your gender, race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

However, some Californians don’t realize it is also against the law for an employer to discriminate against a worker due to their marital status. This might at least be partially due to the fact that many workers rarely stop to consider why an employer would consider their marital status to ever be a relevant factor impacting their job performance in the first place.

Unfortunately, some employers do tend to give preferential treatment to employees based on whether they are or are not married. If they refuse to hire, terminate, or otherwise engage in acts of discrimination against workers and candidates whose marital status does not correspond with their preferences, the targets of their discrimination often have the option of filing claims or lawsuits to seek compensation and/or reinstatement.

To better understand what marital status discrimination in the workplace might look like, consider the following examples:

Refusing to Hire Unmarried Employees

The reasons employers have for discriminating against certain workers and candidates based on their marital status can vary on a case-by-case basis. For instance, some employers believe that marriage provides stability in someone’s life. That stability, in the minds of such employers, may translate to superior performance at work.

Other employers also wish to ensure their workforce projects a certain image that represents core values to their clients. A company whose workers are primarily married might, theoretically, appeal to a client with traditional values.

Holding the personal opinion that marriage can have a positive impact on someone’s work performance is entirely legal. However, allowing this opinion to influence hiring and firing decisions is not.

Firing an Employee for Getting Married

Just as there are some employers who prefer to hire married workers, others look down upon marriage.

An employer might decide to fire someone for getting married if they feel that marriage will distract them from focusing on their career. Or, they may choose to fire a worker because of who they got married to. An example would be an employee firing a worker who married a politician the employer does not support. Again, this is against the law.

Firing an Employee for Getting a Divorce

Another instance in which an employer might allow their personal values and beliefs to unfairly impact how they treat their workers could involve an employer firing or mistreating an employee who has gotten a divorce.

That said, in all these potential scenarios, it would be unlikely for an employer to openly admit to engaging in marital status discrimination. They would more likely fabricate a reason for terminating or choosing not to hire certain individuals to avoid admitting they’ve broken the law.

Thus, if you believe an employer has discriminated against you due to your marital status, consider that your odds of winning a case should you take legal action will be much greater if you have representation from a qualified lawyer.

That’s exactly what we offer at JML Law. To learn more about what our Los Angeles marital status discrimination attorneys can do for you, contact us online or call us at 818-610-8800.