In California, not every employee is treated the exact same. People earn different amounts of money, have different responsibilities, different benefits and different work hours. The amount of experience employees have, how long they have been with a company and the line of work they do can all effect the day to day lives of those people. However, with all the differences, all California employees have some protections — especially against workplace discrimination.

Workplace discrimination occurs when an employer discriminates against an employee because of the employee’s race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nation origin or other similar trait. This discrimination can include discrimination at any level — whether it’s in the hiring process, the employee’s compensation, termination or how the worker is treated. In any case, workplace discrimination is not tolerated under California employee laws.

Recently, a California employee has had to sue British Petroleum Oil Co. after she suffered from workplace discrimination. According to the African American woman, she was fired from BP for wearing “ethnic” clothing and for braiding her hair. The woman claims that the woman was told on several occasions that she needed to stop wearing “ethnic hairstyles” and “ethnic clothing” because it made her co-workers uncomfortable. The woman also claims that she was told that she should reserve these clothing and hairstyle choices for special cultural events including for black history month.

BP claims that the woman was fired because she bullied her co-workers and was overly aggressive. However, the company hasn’t commented directly on the lawsuit.

Employees — like this woman — deserve to go to work in an environment free from discrimination. Those employees that have suffered from discrimination have legal rights and may be eligible for compensation.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Black Executive Allegedly Fired From BP For Braided Hair And Ethnic Clothing. We’re Not Joking.,” Julee Wilson, Dec. 9, 2013