Why Do Employers Discriminate Based On Marital Status? 5 Surprising Reasons

By: JML Law | February 6, 2018.
Why Do Employers Discriminate Based On Marital Status? 5 Surprising Reasons

If you’re married and have been discriminated against on the basis of your marital status, know this: (1) you’re not alone, and (2) you can sue your employer and seek compensation, our Los Angeles discrimination attorney says.

Whenever you hear someone talk about discrimination, the first thing that comes to mind is age, race, gender, and disability. But let’s not forget that federal and California state discrimination laws also protect employees from being discriminated against on the basis of their marital status.

Although discrimination against employees based on marriage and civil partnership is less frequent than race, gender, or age discrimination in America, it still exists. The problem is: only a handful of people actually talk about it (or know how to fight against it, for that matter).

Today, our best discrimination attorneys in Los Angeles will finally answer why employers discriminate on the basis of marital status and what you can do about it.

What do California laws say about marital status discrimination

According to California discrimination laws, discriminating against employees based on marital status is unlawful regardless of how many employees a company has.

In Los Angeles and elsewhere in the state, it’s illegal for employers to base employment decisions on whether a job applicant or employee is married or unmarried, or whether he/she is in a civil partnership.

Either you’re married or engaged to a person of the opposite sex or same sex, if an employer is discriminating against you or harassing you – thus, creating a hostile environment in the workplace and making it impossible for you to perform your duties – you may be entitled to file a marital status discrimination complaint.

Similarly, California laws also protect you from being discriminated against based on your family status. Therefore, it would not be legal for an employer to harass or discriminate against you for taking time off to care for a child or being late for work because you had to go to your child’s school.

Marital status discrimination during job interviews

The same laws apply if you’re seeking employment. If you’re attending a job interview, the law prohibits any direct or indirect questions about your marital status.

Inquiring into or making decisions based on a job applicant’s marital status is considered discrimination, and may entitle you to take legal action for being discriminated against, our Los Angeles discrimination attorney at JML Law says.

Intentionally seeking information about an applicant’s marital status during a normal conversation during a job interview is also prohibited. For example, it would be considered marital status discrimination if an employee congratulated a female applicant on an engagement ring and asked, “Are you getting married soon?”

Also, fishing out a response concerning marriage or family is unlawful. So an employer telling you that he has to attend parent-teacher conferences every Friday would not be accepted if an applicant feels as if he or she is being pressured into sharing information about his/her own family obligations.

But why do employers discriminate against job applicants and employees based on marital or family status in the first place?

Why do employers discriminate based on marital status

Our Los Angeles discrimination lawyers at JML Law explain that the reasons, why employers discriminate on the basis of marital status, vary greatly from one case to another.

However, the most common reasons are:

  1. Thinking that engagement or marriage means that a female employee is more likely to get pregnant, and therefore go on parental leave.
  2. Some employers have a personal problem with employees being married or engaged to persons of the same sex.
  3. A female employee being married means that the employer will be more likely to be turned down when making unsolicited sexual advances.
  4. A married employee would be less likely to agree to employment benefits and promotions in exchange for sexual favours.
  5. An employer pays male employees more than female workers based on a questionable assumption that only men can be breadwinners and have families to provide for.

Find out which actions and behaviors of your employer can be considered discriminatory and can entitle you to file a complaint and seek compensation.

Like sexual harassment and other types of discrimination and harassment in the workplace, being discriminated against on the basis of marital status can have negative consequences on your earning capacity, the quality of your life, as well as your mental, physical, psychological, and emotional health.

Contact our best marital status discrimination attorneys in Los Angeles to get a free consultation today. Call JML Law at 818-610-8800 or send us an email.

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