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California Labor & Employment Law Blog

Understanding unintentional retaliation

If you have made a complaint to an internal manager or an external agency about an work issue about which you are concerned, it is likely that you may wonder how this will be received at work. You may, for example, worry that your manager will get angry about your complaint. You may even fear that the complaint could negatively affect your career opportunities.

Being retaliated against because of a complaint is a common fear in workplaces across the country. This is why there are now laws in place to protect workers from retaliation, as it is unlawful to retaliate against employees for making a complaint. Many retaliatory actions are intentional, but an employer could also be accused of unintentional retaliation.

Were you denied breaks as a California worker?

If you are a worker here in California, you are protected by laws that ensure you get the opportunity to have breaks at certain times in the workday. This is your legal right and it can help you perform your work to your best ability as well as avoid accumulated stress or exhaustion.

If you believe that you were unlawfully denied the breaks to which you were entitled, it is important that you first take the time to understand the law so that you can verify whether this was in fact the case.

Enforcing your right to equal pay

It is well-known that there is a significant pay gap that exists between men and women in the United States. This persists across states and across most industries. These statistics are present despite the Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963. The EPA is a federal law that makes it illegal for discrimination to be made in regard to wages on the basis of an employee's gender.

There are some barriers to showing that an employer is discriminating in payment based on gender. One of these barriers is the lack of transparency in regard to the salaries of co-workers. If you learn that a co-worker of another gender is being paid more for doing the exact same job as you, you may want to take action to have this injustice rectified.

Men can be victims of sexual harassment at work

While workplace harassment is often discussed as if it's a woman's problem, the reality is that anyone can be a victim of workplace harassment. Men also face harassment in the workplace, many times dealing with sexual harassment.

Approximately a third of all working men reported that they had been victims of sexual harassment at least once in the last year. In 2011, there were 7,809 sexual harassment charges filed that went through the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and just over 16 percent of them were filed by men. Clearly, men are impacted by harassment, even if it appears to happen less often than it does to women.

Appealing an unemployment benefits denial in California

If you are currently unemployed in California, you may be entitled to unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. These can be a lifeline for those who are struggling as a result of becoming unemployed through no fault of their own.

If you have recently applied for UI benefits but were denied, it is important that you understand why your application was denied so that you can address the issue. It might be that the circumstances surrounding your unemployment mean that you are simply not eligible, but you may also have missed information in your application.

Was my child unlawfully employed?

If you have a minor child, and they have entered the workplace, they may be working as a model, an actor or as any other young worker. In order to protect them, it is important to ensure that they are employed legally and that they benefit from all of the legal protections in place for minor workers in the state of California.

There are many restrictions in place to prevent children from being exploited in the workplace. This means that children between 5 and 15 years old must be attending full-time schooling if they also engage in work. This schooling requirement can be satisfied through tutoring or alternative schooling.

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.

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