The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employment practices that discriminate against applicants or employees on the basis of:
- religious creed,
- national origin,
- physical disability (including HIV-positive status) or mental disability,
- medical condition (specifically cancer-related conditions and genetic characteristics),
- marital status,
- sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, and gender identity),
- age (40 years and older),
- or sexual orientation.
It also includes discrimination based on a perception that a person is a member of a protected class or is associated with a person who is, or is perceived to be, a member of a protected class (CA Gov. Code Sec. 12940 et seq.).
The FEHA specifically prohibits employers from asking questions about these characteristics, either on an application form or in a job interview, unless the characteristic is related to the applicant's ability to perform the job. The FEHA applies to employers with five or more employees.
Questions about physical fitness are allowed if they are directly related and pertinent to the job. The Act also prohibits any non-related inquiry: for example, what your parents do, whether you rent or own a home, if you are planning to be married. This law ensures that an employer makes hiring decisions based on your skills, attitude, and ability to do the job.