In order to win a discrimination lawsuit in California for failure to promote due to racial discrimination, an employee must demonstrate that: (1) the employee is a member of a protected class; (2) the employee applied for and was qualified for an open job; (3) the employee was rejected for that job; and (4) rather than filling the position the employer left it open or filled it with a worker outside the protected class at issue. An employee cannot successfully argue that he or she has a successful discrimination lawsuit based on the fact the employer lied about the reason that it actually fired the employee or failed to give the employee a raise or promotion.  Employment laws prohibit intentional discrimination committed against California employees, not lying. While evidence of the employer's lying might suggest it had cause to hide its true discriminatory reasons for why it actually decided not to hire or promote the employee, there still must be evidence supporting a rational inference that the alleged racial or age discrimination was the true cause of the employer's actions.

Disparate treatment and disparate impact discrimination claims are separate and distinct. Under California employment laws, Liability in a disparate-treatment case depends on whether the protected trait actually motivated the employer's decision to discriminate against the employee. By contrast, disparate-impact claims involve employment practices that are facially neutral in their treatment of different groups but that in fact fall more harshly on one group than another and the employer cannot justify the discrimination by business necessity. 

As with racial discrimination laws, an employee's allegations of employer retaliation under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act require that the employee prove: (1) the employee engaged in protected activity; (2) the employer subjected the employee to an adverse employment action such as demoting or firing the employee; and (3) a causal link existed between the protected activity and the employer's action exists.  In order for the employee to establish that the employer damaged the employee as a form of retaliation, the employee can show that the employer knew the employee made a complaint against the employer when the employer subjected the employee to demotion or termination.