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California Labor & Employment Law Blog

Can sexual harassment at work be prevented?

The workplace should be a professional environment that is free from discrimination and inappropriate behavior. While every individual is responsible for their own actions, companies and their managers have the responsibility to set boundaries and expectations regarding what is acceptable. They should also have clear procedures for reporting unacceptable behavior in the workplace such as sexual harassment.

If you feel uncomfortable with an experience you have had at work and believe that your employer has not dealt with the issue in an acceptable manner, it is a good idea to understand how a business should respond to a report of sexual harassment. If your employer did not deal with the issue appropriately, you may be able to take legal action.

Steps to take if you think you were wrongfully fired

If you have recently been fired or laid off from your job, it is likely that you are feeling a mixture of emotions. You may feel a sense of anger toward your employer or manager. In addition to anger, you may also be feeling disappointment, frustration, and sadness -- particularly if you believe that the circumstances behind your job termination were unfair.

It is important that you do not act on any of these emotions impulsively. Instead, you should look into the rights you have under the law. If you can prove that your employment termination was wrongful, you may be able to gain compensation or have your position reinstated. Following are the initial steps that you should take.

Key signs of gender discrimination at work

The law dictates that all workers should be treated equally, regardless of their gender. This means that both sexes should be paid equally for equal work, and they should be able to do their job without facing gender-based or sexual harassment.

If you are feeling uncomfortable about some recent experiences you have had at work, you may be wondering if these experiences constitute workplace discrimination or harassment. If you feel that the experiences have created a hostile environment, you should take action to address the situation. The following are some subtle ways that gender discrimination can be perpetrated.

Basis of discrimination and types

Discrimination in the workplace should never happen. Companies need to have clear guidelines that forbid this atrocious behavior. There are many types that must be addressed. Supervisors and anyone who works in personnel should have a basic understanding of discrimination so they can ensure it is being avoided.

The impacts of discrimination are considerable for targeted workers. They often have to deal with a hostile work environment and negative work actions. For these workers, taking action to make the behavior stop is a priority.

Understanding the Employment Retirement Income Security Act

The Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was enacted in 1974 with the purpose of protecting employees and their rights to regulated pension benefits. ERISA offers guidelines for employers to comply with when creating benefit plans for their employees.

If you have a reason to believe that your employee benefit plan is unfair and violates the law in one way or another, it is important to learn more about the requirements in place under ERISA.

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.

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