January 17, 2022

Volume XII, Number 17

Advertisement
Advertisement

January 15, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Who Are Veterans under California’s FEHA?

Veterans Day is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring military veterans, who are people who have served in the United States Armed Forces. On this special day, it is also a time to remember workplace protections for veterans, including those currently serving in the military.

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and its implementing regulations prohibit workplace discrimination and harassment based on actual or perceived protected categories. One of the protected groups under the FEHA is members of the military or military veterans. As such, it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against or harass employees because of their military or veteran status.

But who is a veteran or military member under the FEHA? The answer to this question may seem obvious, however, who qualifies as a veteran or a military member in California may vary depending on the specific law involved. For example, under certain criminal code sections, only those on active-duty status or veteran status qualify. Under the Government Code pertaining to state civil service, “veteran” means those who have served full-time in the armed forces in times of national emergency or state military emergency or during any expedition of the armed forces.

However, the FEHA has a very broad definition of what constitutes “veteran or military status.” Under Government Code section 12926 (k) “veteran or military status” means a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces Reserve, the United States National Guard, and the California National Guard. There is no active duty, federal, or qualifying service requirement for the robust protection afforded under the FEHA.

Last year, the California legislature further clarified through Assembly Bill (AB) 3364 that the FEHA prohibits discrimination against individuals who either are veterans or because of the individual’s military status, instead of veteran and a certain articulated military status. Employers should keep this broad definition in mind when making decisions that could implicate the FEHA protections.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2022National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 315
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Adam Siegel, Employment Attorney, Whistleblower claims, Jackson Lewis Law FIrm
Principal

Adam Y. Siegel is a Shareholder in the Los Angeles, California office of Jackson Lewis P.C.

Mr. Siegel focuses mainly in employment litigation and represents both private and public sector employers in all aspects of employment law, specializing in litigation and trial of harassment, discrimination, breach of contract, wage/hour, due process, and other employment related claims and has litigated cases in both state and federal court.  As part of his extensive public sector experience, Mr. Siegel has conducted and prepared Investigation Reports pursuant to the California Government...

213-630-8241
John Andrew Schaffer Attorney Employment Law Jackson Lewis Orange County
Associate

John A. ("Drew") Schaffer is an associate in the Orange County, California office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters, including pre-litigation claims and litigation through trial, as well as preventative advice and counseling.

Before joining Jackson Lewis, Drew handled employment law matters throughout all stages of litigation for another large firm focused solely on employment law. At that firm, Drew worked closely with clients to settle many matters in the client’...

949-885-1368
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement