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Los Angeles California Employment Law Blog

What is a retaliation case?

Retaliation happens when an employer punishes an employee for participating in an activity that is protected by law. An employee may just be doing what would normally be expected in a situation, like filing for workers' compensation after an accident, but an employer may take the opportunity to retaliate.

Retaliation is against the law and may come in many forms including:

  • Increasing scrutiny of the employee
  • Transferring the employee to a position that is less desirable
  • Spreading false rumors about the employee
  • Reprimanding the employee
  • Making the person's work more difficult, such as changing the person's work schedule to conflict with other responsibilities
  • Engaging in physical or verbal abuse of the employee

Why is harassment rampant in the restaurant industry?

Since the #MeToo movement began two years ago, our nation has spent considerably more time analyzing the problems with various industries to determine ways to prevent employee mistreatment. Even though California residents were getting used to seeing actors and producers make the news for their allegations, they were also finding out how big of an issue it was for other businesses.

According to the EEOC, over 14 percent of the sexual harassment claims filed with them within the last decade came from the service industry. Another study from the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United Forward Together indicates that 79 percent of women and 71 percent of men who work in restaurants experience sexual harassment in some form. Now that these problems that have plagued the restaurant industry for decades are coming to light, it is important to understand what often leads to these horrifying statistics.

Harassment in the workplace: Document everything

Despite the fact that Title VII is a federal law that prohibits discrimination, many women in the workplace still struggle with sexual harassment. If you are someone who deals with harassment on the job, know that there are steps you can take to report this treatment and get help.

To start with, you'll need to start documenting any harassment you face. Some of the things you will need to document include:

  • Your experience including the time, date and any witnesses who were present
  • Your productivity so that you can show that you are working and safeguarding that work
  • Your experience reporting the incident with the harasser. You will need to report the time, date, location and witnesses who saw you report the incident

What is the purpose of the FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is a labor law that provides job-protected leave for those who have qualified family or medical reasons. This leave is unpaid.

If you have a loved one who has fallen ill whom you have to care for or you have your own serious illness, then you may qualify for time off through the FMLA. The FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off during which your job is protected. While you are not working, your health care benefits will be maintained, so that you can use your health insurance if needed for your medical care.

What can you do about unpaid wages?

If there is anything that should upset you, it's the idea that you'd go to work and do your time only to go without appropriate pay. If it happens once, it might be an oversight, but if you're missing compensation over and over again, the reality is that you're probably dealing with wage theft.

Wage theft is a real problem. It happens when employers don't pay their employees their rightful wages. Generally, employers who are caught paying less than they should are ordered to provide back pay. Back pay includes the total amount of missing money that the employee was entitled to.

Your employer can't discriminate against you based on genetics

Discrimination is defined as treating someone unjustly or with prejudice as a result of their differences. By law, discrimination against certain groups of people is illegal. These laws aim to protect vulnerable groups and encourage equality when employers hire, promote or terminate employees.

Employers are unable to be discriminatory against their employees based on differences such as:

  • National origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Age
  • Race or skin color
  • Disability
  • Genetic information
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender

Pregnant emergency service workers face several risks

Major companies and organizations in California should have some form of reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, however, some struggle to implement them into their workplaces more than others. This is especially present in industries that require their employees to perform physically demanding jobs. Having a pregnant worker may interrupt their workflow for a brief period of time, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be unprepared to handle the situation.

Employers involved in emergency services such as law enforcement or firefighting often have difficulties with taking care of their pregnant employees. Their dangerous line of work means that pregnant employees that don’t receive the proper accommodations are at risk in more ways than one.

What situations may be wrongful termination?

A wrongful termination is nothing short of shocking to those who go through it. The truth is that many who face wrongful terminations know that something isn't right. They may also feel discriminated against or have a nagging feeling that someone is "out to get them." And, what's worse, is that they may be right.

Wrongful termination occurs when a person has their job terminated in a way that is against the law. It could be a termination that violates discrimination laws or one that violates other terms of contracts or employment guidelines.

You can protect yourself after a wrongful termination

A wrongful termination can be damaging in several ways. It can cause financial stress, hurt feelings and harm to the reputation of an individual. A wrongful termination might occur because of discrimination or for other illegal reasons.

When you're fired from a job, you might think you're unable to do anything since most employment is considered "at-will." Under at-will presumptions, employers are allowed to terminate any employee at any time. However, there are classes of people who are protected, and there are certain types of firings that are not allowed.

Get help to stop sexual harassment in the workplace

Nothing is more damaging to a person in a work environment than feeling as if they don't matter or are constantly threatened as a result of their gender and what they look like. While there are many attractive people in the world, no one should have to suffer from sexual harassment simply for being handsome or beautiful. It's not fair to expect people to respond kindly to sexist remarks or commentary on their looks.

Sexual harassment is a major problem in some workplaces, and people may be worried about speaking out. The thing to remember is that it is illegal to retaliate against someone who reports sexual harassment in the workplace. If you report it and your employer fires you, demotes you or otherwise threatens your position, you can file a claim against them for doing so.

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