The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employers from printing or circulating (or causing to be printed or circulated) any notice that indicates a preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based on race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, age (40 years and older), marital status, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, or military or veteran status unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification (CA Gov. Code Sec. 12900 et seq.).
The law applies to all public employers, private employers with five or more employees, employment agencies, and labor organizations.
Note: Effective January 1, 2015, unpaid interns and volunteers are protected from discrimination based on their age.
Age limitations. Under the FEHA, employers may specify age limitations where required by law.
Clause (c) of Article 1, Sec. 31 of the California Constitution provides: “Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting bona fide qualifications based on sex which are reasonably necessary to the normal operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” Clause (c) applies not only to employment but also to public education and contracting. For this reason, the more common term “bona fide occupational qualification” (BFOQ) was not used. However, in the employment context, Clause (c) serves to create a BFOQ exception that mirrors preexisting state and federal BFOQ law.