Frequently Asked Questions About Discrimination

What is Discrimination?

Discrimination is defined as the act or practice of treating an individual differently on a basis other than individual merit.

The Law

It is illegal to discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, sex, age, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or medical condition.

State Policy

It is the policy of the state of California to provide equal employment opportunity to all state employees on the basis of merit, efficiency, and fitness and to prohibit discrimination in every phase of personnel policy and practice in the employment, development, and advancement or treatment of its employees.


The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is responsible for administrating and enforcing California’s civil rights laws governing employment. DFEH has 12 district offices staffed with consultants who are responsible for processing and investigating employment discrimination complaints.

Take Action

If you believe you have been discriminated against on the basis of any of the prohibited employment practices cited above, you may file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity counselor of your department or your local DFEH office. (See your State of California Telephone Directory for the closest DFEH office).

If you think your right to be free from discrimination has been violated, contact the CASE Office at 1-800-699-6533.