Los Angeles Employment Lawyers for Police and Sheriffs’ Deputies
Advocating for law enforcement officers throughout Los Angeles County and the state
Being a victim of discrimination at work is demoralizing and can have a deep emotional impact on a person. Moreover, being treated unfairly and unfavorably at work because of your race, your gender, religion, national origin, skin color, disability or sexual orientation is against California law. Federal discrimination laws also provide robust protections which you can use to fight for justice in the form of compensation for the emotional anguish and financial losses you have suffered because of unfair, illegal treatment at work.
At McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP, our Los Angeles employment lawyers are proud to represent police officers, sheriffs’ deputies and all members of law enforcement when their rights have been violated. You can rely on us to help hold employers accountable for violating employment laws. Our firm knows how to fight and win cases, and has been doing exactly that for over three decades. Below are a few representative successes we’ve obtained:
Additionally, in a high-profile victory, McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP represented a Los Angeles Police Department officer who was fired from the department due to false accusations by another police agency while he was helping his wife with a flat tire. He allegedly became belligerent and unruly with the other officers who were on the scene. Our firm obtained a favorable verdict on behalf of our client and returned him to his former position on the force, which was exceptionally difficult as police agencies rarely reinstate an officer after that person has been terminated.
What is employment discrimination?
Discrimination in the workplace can be an employee who is treated unfairly, unfavorably or differently from other employees, or an adverse employment action was taken because of an employee’s gender, age, religion, national origin, color or disability. Examples of employment discrimination include:
- People of one race are more likely to be given promotions or bonuses.
- People with disabilities are not given proper accommodations.
- Female officers are subjected to taunts and behaviors that males are not subjected to.
- Older officers are given less important cases.
- Certain religious holidays are favored over others.
Federal laws that protect workers from discrimination
These are a few of the federal laws that protect workers from discrimination:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes discrimination against a person on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex illegal. Title VII also prohibits discrimination against women because of pregnancy, childbirth or any related health conditions.
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) makes discrimination against a person age 40 or older because of his or her age against the law.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 makes it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities.
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 makes offering different rates of pay between women and men for the same work illegal.
California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects California employees from discrimination based on race, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status and age if the person is over age 40. The FEHA protections apply to employers with five or more employees.
Proving workplace discrimination
Proving workplace discrimination is not always easy. Employers may use a “pretext,” or false reason for the wrongful termination. You must be able to provide evidence to prove that you were discriminated against which is why it’s crucial to work with an employment lawyer who is well-versed in California laws.
There are two types of evidence: direct evidence and circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence includes written or oral statement, emails, memos or any other form of written communication that connects your protected status with your employer's policies on hiring, promoting, assigning duties, firing or any other job-related decisions. These policies may be unwritten, but that does not mean that they do not exist.
If you are unable to find any tangible, direct evidence of your employer's discriminatory policies, you may have to rely on circumstantial evidence. California law recognizes that employees rarely have direct evidence of discrimination and often must rely on circumstantial evidence. Black's Law Dictionary describes the following examples of circumstantial evidence for workplace discrimination:
- Observations of different treatment between yourself and other employees with the same level of qualification for the job, but who differ in protected class status.
- Rude or derogatory comments made by superiors about your protected status such as racist or sexist remarks.
- A history of prior discriminatory practices or complaints against the company.
- A relative lack of employees with your protected status in your workplace.
- Jobs being given to people with fewer qualifications but a different class status.
As Panel Counsel to the Los Angeles Police Protective League, McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP understands that the needs of law enforcement may be different than those of a private employee. Your Los Angeles workplace discrimination lawyer will be able to piece together instances such as these to compile enough evidence to prove that discrimination is going on. If it comes down to your word against your supervisor's, you should have as much circumstantial evidence as you can find to support your allegations and prove your case.
Helping law enforcement in LA County with whistleblower claims
The choice of whether to file a whistleblower claim against the LAPD or the Los Angele County Sheriffs’ Department is daunting. We understand that most officers see themselves as a part of a brotherhood, and any attempt to point out corruption or systemic, illegal activity may be met with less-than-enthusiastic responses. Often, whistleblowers are subjected to bullying and harassing behavior, and shut out by their own colleagues. Even worse, many face retaliatory behaviors by commanding officers. This can include being:
- Denied promotions and bonuses
- Suspended from work
- Relegated to the “records room”
- Taken off active cases
Under state and federal law, it is illegal to retaliate against whistleblowers, and if your employer does, you may be entitled to compensation. Our Los Angeles employment attorneys have dedicated their careers to defending employee rights and protecting whistleblowers, and will be relentless in advocating for your cause.
Contact our Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyers for help today
At McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP, our focus is on protecting your rights under the law. Our family owned and operated law firm is a seasoned legal team which has the resources and tenacity required to handle all employment disputes against the LA County Sheriffs’ Office and the LAPD. You are encouraged to call our office today at 310.474.1582 or complete our contact form to learn more about how we can serve you.