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High-level executives and Title VII protections

Whether or not executives in California companies are considered employees is important when determining if they have protection under the Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act when they are victims of workplace discrimination. If they are considered to be employers, they do not qualify for the safeguards the legislation provides. The topic has been a frequently occurring issue.

A common situation that arises includes an executive or some other high-level manager who endures workplace harassment, is constantly overlooked for promotions or has been terminated without cause deciding to file a discrimination lawsuit under Title VII. In response, the employer will seek to have the case dismissed on the premise that the plaintiff is not an employee and as a result cannot be covered by Title VII.

In a 2003 decision, the Supreme Court detailed the test that courts employ when determining if someone is an employee who has the protections provided by federal anti-discrimination legislation, including Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The most important factor is the degree of control the individual has with regard to compensation, making workplace decisions and their work. The EEOC guidelines were used to determine the six factors evaluated for the test. Some of them include whether the individual has to report to someone with more authority in the company, how much the individual can influence the company and how much the individual's work is supervised by the company.

People who have suffered discrimination at their job should consult with an attorney who practices employment law. The attorney may advise clients of their legal options with regard to employment discrimination based on race, age, disability, sex or religion.

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