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California Labor & Employment Law Blog

Am I a victim of sexual assault in the workplace?

If you have had to suffer from unwanted sexual advances in the workplace, you will undoubtedly be feeling very distressed, upset and confused about how to proceed. Every experience of sexual assault is unique, but it should never be tolerated. Although you will be aware of the ways in which you were mistreated, it is likely that you will not be sure about how it will be viewed in the eyes of the law.

If you were sexually assaulted in the workplace, it is very important that you never tolerate this behavior under any circumstances. The law is in place to protect all employees from any type of sexual harassment; therefore, by taking action, you will be able to get justice.

Understanding disparate impact discrimination

There are many ways in which California employees are protected from discriminatory practices. Many of the legal protections in place cover instances in which the employee has intentionally been discriminated against. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for an employer or employee to intentionally discriminate against an employee because of a specific characteristic, such as their race or gender.

However, there can be times in which employees are negatively affected not by intentional discrimination, but by a systematic or regulatory procedure or rule that unfairly disadvantages a specific group. This type of discrimination is widely known as disparate impact discrimination.

If you were fired unfairly, you may be able to take action

If you have been fired unexpectedly in the state of California, it is likely that you will be feeling embarrassed, disheartened or even angry. Many negative emotions can come with a firing, whether the firing was legitimate or not. However, if you have a strong feeling that your firing was unfair, you might want to consider whether your employment termination was wrongful in the eyes of the law.

After an unfair firing, it is important to take some time to understand how the law works in California. This will help you to feel more empowered to take action against your former employer if you believe that it is necessary.

Employees protected by California whistleblower act

Under California law, employees are entitled to report wrongdoings in the workplace without fear of retribution from their employer.

It's called the California Whistleblower Protection Act. The state, in fact, encourages employees to tell the person or group empowered to investigate an issue when they believe their employer has violated local, state or federal laws or if their actions can harm the safety or health of employees.

Can you be required to work on holidays in California?

Many people assume that employers are required to give them some holidays off with pay -- certainly "big" ones like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. However, that's a false assumption.

Indeed, most businesses are closed on those holidays. Many companies give employees some paid holidays as part of their employee benefits package. Further, employees who belong to unions or are the beneficiaries of collective bargaining agreements may get specific holidays off. However, there is no California law that requires companies to give employees any holiday off, with or without pay.

How to tell if you've been wrongfully terminated

Losing your job can be a stressful experience. It becomes overwhelming when you believe you were wrongfully terminated. It's not always cut and dry when it comes to wrongful termination. Sometimes, you have to look deep into the firing to determine if you have a case for a wrongful termination complaint in Los Angeles. Here are some ways to determine if it happened to you.

The first thing you need to examine is the reason you were fired. Did you get fired for your religious beliefs? Were you fired because you announced a pregnancy? Do you get fired for caring for a loved one? These are some reasons why an employer cannot fire you. Others include your gender, your ethnicity, your race, your age and if you have a disability.

Signs that you have been wrongfully terminated

Wrongful termination is a serious problem that affects thousands of employees in the Los Angeles area every year. Even though there are laws that attempt to prevent employees from being wrongfully terminated employers still relieve employees of their duties without cause or for certain reasons. Let's take a look at the signs that show you've been terminated wrongfully.

The most common sign that you were wrongfully terminated is that you lost your job because of some form of discrimination. Employers are not allowed to terminate employment due to age, sex, race, pregnancy, illness, disability, religion or ethnicity.

What you can do about sexual harassment in the workplace

Even with federal and state laws in place to protect employees, instances of sexual harassment in the workplace are all too common. If you find yourself a victim, it's imperative that you take immediate action to make things right.

Here are the steps you can take:

  • Speak your mind: Don't sit back and let the other person think it's okay to harass you. Tell them that they are in the wrong and that you are not going to stand for it. Make it clear that their conduct is offensive and they need to change their ways. This alone may be enough to put an end to the problem before it turns into something more serious.
  • Read your employee handbook: This should give you a better idea of the steps to take if you're the victim of sexual harassment. If your company doesn't have a set procedure in place for reporting harassment, you'll want to move onto the next step.
  • Report the incident: Start with your supervisor, but also include the HR department in your complaint. Keep detailed notes of every conversation you have about the incident.
  • Collect evidence: Anything you have that proves you were a victim of sexual harassment is something you should keep. For example, if the person sent you an off-color email, print it out for your records.
  • File an administrative charge: You can do this with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or your state's government. Either way, you want the appropriate agency to step in and investigate your claim of harassment.

City acknowledges delay in dealing with discrimination complaint

Earlier this year, amid multiple complaints about sexual harassment and discrimination against city employees, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the implementation of a website called MyVoiceLA where employees could report harassment and discrimination. At the time, Garcetti directed city officials to address any complaints by current as well as former employees "quickly and efficiently."

However, Council President Herb Wesson wasn't informed about a discrimination complaint made in June against City Councilman Jose Huizar for almost three months. The city's personnel department is required to inform either the council president or the mayor as soon as a sexual harassment or discrimination complaint is made against any elected city official. A committee must then be convened to investigate the allegation.

What is the minimum wage for workers in California? It depends.

There are various wage rights employees generally have here in California. One is the right to be paid at least the minimum wage for their work. What is the minimum wage for a given worker in California? The answer depends on certain factors.

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