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Los Angeles California Employment Law Blog

Don't let discrimination get to you: Fight back

There is no place for discrimination in any workplace. It is very hard to deal with discrimination when it affects your everyday environment. Whether you're a Black American struggling because of racism in your workplace, or you're a Muslim who is just trying to get through the day without negative interactions with clients, you deserve to know your legal rights.

Discrimination is against the law. It is specifically illegal for your employer to discriminate against you. Co-workers and clients may not discriminate against you in the workplace, or you may be in a position to make a claim.

You don't need to put up with a hostile work environment

Many people work jobs that they don't like or don't feel comfortable with. The reality is that not everyone is going to get along with everyone else in the workplace. Some people may be better suited to a busy work environment or to a quiet work area than others.

What people don't need to put up with is a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment is not just an environment that is unpleasant to work in. There are specific legal requirements that have to be met if you want to make a claim for dealing with a hostile environment on the job.

What are some unfair myths about sexual harassment?

There is always a lot of misinformation about sexual harassment that circulates throughout society. Some people believe that it's a result of uncontrolled lust and passion that men can't be expected to contain under certain circumstances. Others believe that only women can be victims. Some others think that those who don't fight are giving permission.

The reality is very different from what these myths presume. In truth, sexual violence can happen to anyone at any time. Harassment can take place at work, when you're in the grocery store or even while going through a fast-food drive-thru.

Stand up for your rights if you're wrongfully terminated

A wrongful termination can cause your life to spiral out of control. One moment, you have a solid income. The next, you're struggling to get by.

A wrongful termination is hurtful in more ways than one. It is financially painful, but it also causes great emotional distress over the cause of the firing. Unfortunately, the number of small businesses being accused of this kind of action is increasing. A Dec. 16 report indicates that employment-related claims are rising against small businesses.

Get help if your employer isn't paying what you're owed

You work hard when you're on the job. You make sure you get your work done on time and have always been good about helping others get their work done as well. You've stayed late to support the company, but you noticed that your hours never seemed to add up.

For example, one week you know that you worked over 50 hours, but your employer has you at 40 even. Another week, you were sure you worked 45, but again, you had only 40. When you confronted your employer about the missing hours, they told you that your overtime wasn't approved, so they capped your hours at 40.

Defining wrongful termination in California

Many people have lost their jobs for reasons they find ridiculous or completely made up. However, in almost every state, including California, your employer can fire you for almost any reason without notice. This is because most employment is at-will. In other words, you are allowed to quit for any reason, but you can also be fired for no good reason.

This may seem disadvantageous to workers, but there are laws in place to protect workers in at-will employment states. For example, if you have a contract with your employer, your employer is not allowed to violate that contract to fire you. Employers also are not legally permitted to fire you in retaliation for acting as a whistleblower, filing an EEOC complaint, or reporting illegal activities within the company.

New laws set to be implemented in January 2020

With each new year, there are many new laws that go into place throughout the United States. In California, there are changes that could impact how you're going to be paid. There are a few important laws set to begin in 2020, but one you should get to know is the new minimum wage.

The new minimum wage for employers who employ 25 people or less is going to increase up from $11 per hour to $12. When 26 or more people are employed, the employer will now be required to pay a minimum of $13. This is a part of the longstanding changes to the minimum wage in California that first began in 2016.

New California workplace laws go into effect January 1

Workplace discrimination and harassment claims are on the rise, and California lawmakers are making every effort to put an end to these behaviors and make sure that all workers are treated equally. A few essential California workplace laws will go into effect on January 1, 2020, in an effort to curb the mistreatment of employees.

Under AB 9, or the Stop Harassment and Reporting Extension Act, workers will have an extended amount of time to submit their initial harassment or discrimination claims to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Previously, workers had only one year from the date of the illegal misconduct to submit their claims, but they will now have three years. The employee will be asked to provide basic information about the discriminatory or harassing behaviors and will then receive a "right to sue" letter from the DFEH. This extended time will help employees who do not know their rights or are afraid to come forward against a supervisor.

What are some examples of wrongful terminations?

A wrongful termination can turn your life upside down. One minute, you're working with your coworkers like any other normal day. The next, you're cleaning out your desk for reasons you can't quite understand.

Wrongful termination can happen for many reasons. Here are a few example situations that could be considered wrongful terminations.

Game studio agrees to pay $10M for gender discrimination

Approximately 1,000 past and current female employees of Riot Games are set to recover a portion of the $10M Riot agreed to pay as part of a settlement in a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination. The employees and Riot have agreed to the settlement and it currently awaits court approval.

According to the lawsuit, Riot was encouraging a 'men-first' culture, where employees regularly engaged in various inappropriate behaviors, such as crotch-grabbing, sending unsolicited pictures of male genitalia, and ranking female employees based on appearance. Riot allegedly would retaliate against women who spoke out against the harassment by denying them promotions, refusing them raises or equal pay, or taking other adverse action.

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