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Term Definition

Discrimination is the prejudicial and/or distinguishing treatment of an individual based on their actual or perceived membership in a certain group or category, in a way that is worse than the way people are usually treated. It involves the group's initial reaction or interaction, influencing the individual's actual behavior towards the group or the group leader, restricting members of one group from opportunities or privileges that are available to another group, leading to the exclusion of the individual or entities based on logical or irrational decision making.

Disparate Impact

Disparate Impact occurs when a facially neutral employment policy resulted in a disparate impact on a protected class of individuals.

Disparate Treatment

Disparate Treatment occurs when an employer intended to discriminate against an employee.

Division of Labor Standards Enforcement

The mission of the California Labor Commissioner's Office is to ensure a just day's pay in every workplace in the State and to promote economic justice through robust enforcement of labor laws. By combating wage theft, protecting workers from retaliation, and educating the public, we put earned wages into workers' pockets and help level the playing field for law-abiding employers. This office is also known as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).

Division of Workers' Compensation

The Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) monitors the administration of workers' compensation claims, and provides administrative and judicial services to assist in resolving disputes that arise in connection with claims for workers' compensation benefits.

Duty to Accommodate

In situations where religion or disability are involved, an employer not only has a duty not to discriminate based on those criteria but also has a duty to reasonably accommodate where such accommodation can be made. This duty is weighed against any serious inconvenience to the conduct of the employer’s business.


Anyone with whom the employer has an employment relationship, i.e., an employee on the payroll.

Employee Handbook

An employee handbook, sometimes also known as an employee manual or staff handbook, is a book given to employees by an employer. Usually, the employee handbook contains information about company policies and procedures.

Employment Contract

A contract of employment is a category of contract used in employment law to attribute right and responsibilities between parties to a bargain. On the one end stands an "employee" who is "employed" by an "employer".

Employment Law

Body of law that applies to matters such as employment, wages, conditions of work, labour unions, and labour-management relations. Laws intended to protect workers, including children, from abusive employment practices were not enacted in significant numbers until the late 19th century in Europe and slightly later in the U.S. In Asia and Africa, labour legislation did not emerge until the 1940s and '50s. Employment laws cover matters such as hiring, training, advancement, and unemployment compensation. Wage laws cover the forms and methods of payment, pay rates, social security, pensions, and other matters. Legislation on working conditions regulates hours, rest periods, vacations, child labour, equality in the workplace, and health and safety. Laws on trade unions and labour-management relations address the status of unions, the rights and obligations of workers' and employers' organizations, collective bargaining agreements, and rules for settling strikes and other disputes.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal law enforcement agency that enforces laws against workplace discrimination. The EEOC investigates discrimination complaints based on an individual's race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, genetic information, and retaliation for reporting, participating in, and/or opposing a discriminatory practice.


Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. In American jurisprudence, the courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one.


Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case in favor of one side or the other.

Executive Order 11246

Executive Order 11246 applies to all employers that have contracts or subcontracts with the federal government, and in excess of $10,000. The law prohibits discrimination by such employers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Exempt Employee

An exempt employee is one who is exempt from both the California and federal wage and hour laws. Employees are sometimes categorized as exempt because they belong to a classification of employees such as a person providing professional services or a person who is an executive.