Los Angeles California Employment Law Blog

3 common issues that can arise for workers taking leave

Many workers in California receive job-protected leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act. These measures allow eligible employees to take time away from work for specific reasons (birth or adoption of a child, serious medical conditions) without having to risk losing their job.

These rules are critical to the rights of employees in this state, but they can and do cause disputes. Below are a few common disputes that can arise when an employee requests or takes time under the FMLA or CFRA

Age discrimination lawsuit shows how controlling employers can be

California has passed numerous laws in the last couple of years to decrease the amount of discrimination in the workplace. While many of these new regulations focus on sexual harassment prevention thanks to the #MeToo movement, there were not a lot that focus on an issue that has plagued multiple industries for a long time, age discrimination.

Over the years, multiple companies have developed various methods of ridding themselves of their older employees in favor of new ones. Some of these methods are present in a recent lawsuit against the California insurance company, Farmers Insurance Group. This is far from the first time the company has been to court over employee discrimination. Even if they cannot learn from their mistakes, the lawsuit could serve as an example to other local employees and employers of the mistreatment older workers receive.

Which Californian workers benefit from 2019 laws?

The #MeToo movement brought attention to many discriminatory issues that employers are guilty of in the United States. While the movement primarily focused on sexual harassment and violation victims, people started to take notice of many other flaws in the system that have harmed various workers for years.

In 2018, few states could match the amount of laws California passed in their attempt to ensure a safer workplace. Those struggling to find a job or are currently dealing with a toxic work environment may have a better time in 2019 with these new regulations. With how many laws that are now in effect, the following employees should be aware of what these newer laws mean for them:

Stand up to illegal workplace discrimination in California

Here in California, we would like to believe that people succeed or not succeed based only on their own merits. Unfair and illegal discrimination should have no place. Unfortunately, this is far from the reality faced by many workers. As recent and not-so-recent headlines have shown, unfair discrimination happens all the time. One would think that large corporations should be immune from this because they can afford to monitor employee conduct. But as we recently discussed, there have been allegations that a high-profile California auto manufacturer has not been doing this.

According to news reports, the manufacturer has been grappling with allegations that staff members have been hurling verbal abuse at African-American employees. There have also been reports that African-American employees have been wrongfully denied promotions and have had to face racist graffiti in bathrooms and work areas. The chief executive officer apparently didn't help the company culture when he allegedly sent an email to workers encouraging them to be "thick-skinned" about tolerating discriminatory behavior on the job.

What constitutes wrongful termination in California?

Wrongful termination happens whenever an employee is discharged for a reason contrary to law. Although in many cases employers have broad discretion to terminate the employment of their employees, there are cases where the termination is wrongful and the employee may be entitled to remedies under the law of California. This blog post will provide a quick summary of the circumstances under which a former employee can bring a case of wrongful termination under California law.

First, some employees are employed pursuant to an employment agreement that restricts the reasons for termination. This doesn't apply to most employees: At-will employment is the default arrangement in the Golden State. This means that unless there is an employment agreement to the contrary, most employees in California can be terminated for any reason not expressly prohibited by law. Many employees, however, have an employment contract only allowing termination for good cause. In the absence of good cause, a termination may be wrongful.

A brief overview of the law of overtime wages in California

When Los Angeles workers put hours in on the job, those workers expect to get paid for the hours. It's unfair for employers not to pay what they owe their employees, and it can cause hardship to the employees if they are putting time in but not being fairly compensated for it. Keep reading for a brief overview of the law of overtime wages in California.

If an employee works more than eight hours in any workday, the employee must be paid the overtime rate for the excess hours. Also, if an employee works more than 40 hours in any workweek, the employee must be paid the overtime rate for the excess hours.

What sexual harassment is and what remedies may be available

With the rise of the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment has been a major news story over the past year or so. Women and men have discussed their own personal experiences with sexual harassment, sometimes in gut-wrenching detail. The consensus is that sexual harassment is something no one should have to put up with. But, what exactly is sexual harassment? This blog post will describe sexual harassment in more detail.

The federal government defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances or conduct of a sexual nature which unreasonably interferes with the performance of a person's job or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. Sexual harassment can include offensive touching, persistent offensive sexual jokes, posting offensive material in the workplace, and more.

Larger companies can have more difficulty negating discrimination

You might believe that getting a job at a larger organization means that the amount of opportunities dramatically increases. You have the chance to make more friends, try out different tasks and rise to a higher position through hard work and perseverance. Working at a popular and financially profitable company also means you can have an easier time planning long term goals for yourself.

Unfortunately, having so many workers under one roof can be difficult for employers to manage. Everyone is so busy and in their own areas that are distinct from each other. One area may have collaborative workers who bear no ill will against each other, while another may feature a minority worker suffering from discriminatory behavior. This discourse is evident within the controversies surrounding one of America's largest automotive companies, Tesla, Inc.

What kinds of workplace discrimination are prohibited?

California state law protects employees from many forms of discrimination in the workplace. Despite this, many people find themselves dealing with discrimination while they are at work. This blog post will provide a brief summary of what is prohibited at work under the laws of California. For more specific information, an attorney should be consulted.

California prohibits discrimination against individuals based on race or color, ancestry or national origin, religion or creed, age for people over 40, mental or physical disability, sex or gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, or military and veteran status. Employers are also not allowed to discriminate against individuals based on their pregnancy, breastfeeding, childbirth or related medical conditions. These rules apply to employers with five or more employees. The individuals protected include employees and job applicants.

Increase in sexual harassment cases and recoveries in 2018

It was a little over a year ago that many people began sharing their sexual harassment stories in response to several high-profile individuals being accused of sexual harassment. People may be wondering whether this heightened profile has also resulted in more complaints to the government about illegal sexual harassment. Some figures recently released by the federal government show that this may indeed have happened.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 12 percent more sexual harassment complaints were received in 2018 than in 2017. Not only were more complaints received, but the commission experienced more success in litigation against allegedly abusive employers. The commission filed over 40 lawsuits against employers in 2018, a twofold increase over the prior year. These suits, as well as administrative enforcement actions, yielded about $70 million in damages for victims, well more than double that recovered the previous year.

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