The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits hiring practices that discriminate against applicants or independent contractors based on race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related conditions and genetic characteristics), genetic information, marital status, sex, gender identity, gender expression, age (40 years and older), sexual orientation, or military and veteran status of any person, unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). It 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. The law applies to all public employers, private employers with five or more employees, employment agencies, and labor organizations (CA Gov. Code Sec. 12900 et seq.).
FEHA defines “gender” broadly to mean the employee's actual sex or the employer's perception of the employee's sex. The term includes "gender expression," which is defined as a person's gender-related appearance and behavior, whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth (CA Gov. Code Sec. 12926(r)).
Preemployment inquiries. FEHA prohibits employers from making any non-job-related inquiry of applicants or employees that directly or indirectly expresses a limitation, specification, or discrimination about any protected characteristic. Employers are also prohibited from expressing any intent to make such a limitation, specification, or discrimination. The law applies to all forms of inquiry, including the use of an application form (CA Gov. Code Sec. 12940(d)).