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California Labor & Employment Law Blog

What is the law on disparate impact discrimination?

In the workplace, all employees are protected from several types of discrimination, from discrimination based on their race or gender to discrimination based on their disability or religious views. While outright discrimination is fairly clearcut, there can also be situations in which a person is negatively affected by actions taken by an employer, even when the employer had no discriminatory intent.

When certain protected groups are negatively affected by the actions taken by an employer, the actions are considered to have had a disparate impact. If you believe that you may have been affected by disparate impact discrimination in your workplace, you should make sure that you have a full understanding of the law.

Sexual harassment can involve people of any gender or orientation

Misconceptions about what constitutes sexual harassment and who can be either a victim or perpetrator of workplace sexual harassment may leave some people feeling as though they don't have the right to stand up for themselves. Harassment can come from anyone in a workplace, including peers, managers and even clients or customers.

Too many people seem to believe that only women can be victims of sexual harassment and only men can perpetrate it. Other people understand that members of either gender can commit sexual harassment, but they may erroneously believe that only a member of the opposite gender can sexually harass any given individual or that there must be some kind of unrequited romantic or sexual interest involved.

Sexual harassment is one of the top causes of retaliation

Sexual harassment in the working environment has been a big topic in the media over the last few years. The pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the workplace has come to light, and more people are now aware of how it is defined and how it should be reported. However, this does not mean that the problem has gone away.

Those who suffer sexual harassment in the workplace can use the law to protect themselves. It is possible to file a sexual harassment claim, and as a result, an investigation will be made. However, in addition to the initial occurrence of sexual harassment, the victim may also suffer from retaliation in addition.

California employees, employers brace for changes

There are a lot of changes to California's employment laws on the horizon, all set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Not all of them, however, are being met with open arms from employees -- or their employers.

Here's what you should know about some of the new changes that could affect you:

Employee meal and rest breaks in California

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that is responsible for putting into place some key employee welfare standards. However, the FLSA does not put in place and requirements for employers to offer meal and rest breaks. This means that the rights of employees to take meal and rest breaks at work depend on state laws.

In California, there are laws in place to ensure that workers can take meal and rest breaks while at work. The following is an overview of these laws. By learning about your rights, you will be able to take action if your rights are denied.

Can I claim wrongful termination if I'm employed at-will?

When you are employed "at-will," it means that your employer reserves the right to terminate your employment without notice and without giving a specific reason. That's why when a person feels that they have been fired due to a discriminatory reason, they often believe that they don't have the right to contest the action and claim that it is wrongful.

However, this is not the case. While at-will employers have the right to terminate employment without giving a specific reason, they must still abide by employee rights laws, and they cannot discriminate or retaliate. Therefore, if you can prove that you were a victim of wrongful termination, you can still make a claim.

When does an employer have to pay you overtime wages?

Generally speaking, there are three kinds of workers in California. The first is the contractor, who works more or less freelance for a company or even many different clients. Contractors have to pay higher tax rates than employees, but they have substantially more freedom when compared to those directly employed by a specific company.

Direct employment usually involves either salaried workers or hourly workers. Salaried workers make a specific amount for the entire year, regardless of how many hours they work. In other words, they are exempt from overtime pay. Executives and highly educated professionals often accept new jobs on a salary basis.

Workplace sexual harassment can cause emotional damages

A working environment is a place in which all workers should feel safe, supported and protected. However, unfortunately, it is not always this way. Sexual harassment can appear in many forms, from sexually inappropriate jokes to requests for sexual favors in return for career advancement.

Not only are victims of sexual harassment made to feel oppressed and may be vulnerable to retaliation if they resist advances or speak up, but they can also often feel deep shame or embarrassment. Taking action to hold the initiator responsible for their behavior can be the first step toward healing.

Can I make a claim for workplace bullying?

Bullying is most commonly associated with children at school. But unfortunately, people of any age can be affected by bullying. It can occur within social circles, in families or the workplace. Thankfully, there are legal provisions in place that help protect workers who are adversely affected by bullying, particularly when they are bullied because of a protected characteristic.

If you or a loved one's well-being has been affected by workplace bullying, you should know that action can be taken. Bullying can hinder career success, increase chances of mental illness and lead to unnecessary suffering.

Am I improperly classified as a contractor?

Formal employees in the United States who are not exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) have certain rights regarding their hourly pay and overtime pay. Non-exempt employees have the right to minimum wage, and their wages must increase when they work more than 40 hours per week.

Those who are classified as contractors are exempt from the FLSA laws. Employers often see an advantage to having employees who are exempt from FLSA laws, because they do not have to pay overtime or maintain other wage and hour regulations. This is why many workers fall into the trap of being misclassified. If you believe that you are misclassified as a contractor, it is important to verify this, because you may be entitled to compensation.

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