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California Labor & Employment Law Blog

Your 5 basic rights as a California worker

All workers have certain rights in California. You might be a CEO born and raised in California, or an undocumented agricultural worker who has been in the country for 6 months. But you have the same basic rights, regardless of your legal status.

You must have a good understanding of your rights as a worker. This is so that you can take the appropriate action if your rights are violated, and so that you can take a stand with confidence. The following are the 5 basic rights you have as a worker in California.

Can ogling can be a form of sexual harassment at work?

Sexual behavior, no matter how subtle, should never be a component of people's behavior in the workplace. Staring or ogling may seem to some as a trivial action that is not harming anyone. However, body language such as this can be profoundly pervasive, and can seriously impact the way that an employee feels at work.

If you are feeling uncomfortable at work because your coworkers or managers stare at you in what you would interpret to be of a sexual nature, you should not accept this. Under anti-discrimination and harassment laws, it can be possible for you to take action to protect yourself.

Inappropriate material at work could constitute harassment

Sexual harassment is unfortunately rife in the workplace, despite the legal regulations in place that try to prevent it. As an employee, you should be able to go to work each day without being worried about being made to feel embarrassed, ashamed or uncomfortable, particularly in regard to issues of a sexual nature.

The use of inappropriate or pornographic material has no place in the work environment. If you have been exposed to such content on a regular basis and if this has had a negative effect on your experience at work, you may be able to make a sexual harassment claim.

Understanding national origin discrimination

There are many forms of illegal discrimination that are federally recognized when applied to the employment environment. One of these forms of discrimination is referred to as national origin discrimination. This makes it illegal for employees and job applicants to be treated unfairly because of their national origin.

If you believe that you have been affected by national origin discrimination in the workplace, it is a good idea to start by gaining a solid understanding of the law. After you have done this, consider taking further action to assert your rights.

Am I exempt from overtime pay in California?

All states have rules on overtime pay, but not all employees are eligible for overtime pay. It's unfortunately common for employers to misclassify their employees, and therefore, deny them of overtime pay when they deserve it.

If you are a worker in California and you believe that you are entitled to overtime pay, it is important that you understand the law when it comes to non-exempt and exempt employees. When you are aware of your rights, you will be more empowered to take action.

Los Angeles County settles a wrongful termination lawsuit

A spokesperson with the Montebello Unified School District (MUSD) announced on July 8 that they'd settled a wrongful termination lawsuit with a former superintendent of theirs. Another case filed by the school district's then-chief financial and operations officer (CFO/COO) is still awaiting a judicial review.

Both plaintiffs were let go from their roles with MUSD back in 2016. They were terminated after calling attention to political corruption involving activities by the school district's former chief business officer, who was also the head of the school board. The chief business officer was ultimately let go from his role and was replaced by three new board members.

Dealing with an unexpected job loss

Losing your job unexpectedly can feel devastating. Not only do you have to deal with rejection and feeling unappreciated for your hard work, but you will also be without an income.

When you are not given a good reason for why you were let go, this can feel frustrating and disheartening. It is important, however, that you are proactive in moving forward after a job loss. The following are some things that you should consider doing immediately after being fired.

Older workers can face age discrimination

You always thought that your experience would help you when it came time to find a new job. After all, your lack of experience when you were a young worker really stood in your way. At 50 years old, you were at least looking forward to having a stronger resume.

But does that experience make it easier to find a job, or are you now going to run into discrimination based on your age when you look for a new job?

When must your California employer legally pay you overtime?

As an hourly worker in California, you likely depend on your wages to help you cover all of your living expenses, from rent or a mortgage payment to groceries to feed yourself and your family. That's why it is so important that your employer complies with all employment and wage laws.

After all, your financial stability depends on your employer complying with those rules. Some companies will do just about anything to avoid incurring extra expenses. That can include overtime pay.

Understanding affirmative action in the workplace

While it is illegal to discriminate in the workplace on the basis of characteristics such as race, religion, nationality, gender or disability, imbalances are unfortunately still present. This means that there is still a significant gender pay gap, and minorities continue to be underrepresented in managerial positions.

Due to the representation imbalances that persist, large companies are seen to have a responsibility to put policies in place that address this. These policies are formally known as affirmative action.

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