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Los Angeles Employment Law Blog

Study: Employer discrimination rampant against obese women

Most California communities don't have specific laws to protect citizens from bullies who target overweight people, but San Francisco does. San Francisco enacted a so-called fat ordinance in 2000 barring discrimination against a person's size, according to a New York Times report. Obesity is not a protected class in the workplace, under most employment laws.

A Vanderbilt University study found many overweight workers are relegated to jobs with lower pay and more physical demands than workers of average size. However, some obese employees are not subject to these unfavorable conditions. Researchers said employers don't place obese women in jobs that require dealing with the public, but do not hesitate to give those jobs to overweight men.

Method of notice important in FMLA cases

Fathers and mothers across the country want to spend time with their families and have a right to focus on home obligations as well as work. They also have a right to deal with medical needs as those occur. Fortunately, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act support fathers and mothers having all of these rights. However, proper procedures need to be followed. These include notification about taking leave being communicated in a way that avoids lawsuits.

For one part, this entails employees notifying employers about their intention to take leave: when, why and how much. For employees to protect themselves, they should do this in a verifiable way, such as by certified mail. That way, they have a record of having made the communication in the right way.

Wrongful termination claim alleges city broke California law

California workers may be dismissed without reason under at-will employment laws. However, a lack of explanations cannot disguise a hidden agenda. An employer may not discriminate against workers in protected classes or retaliate against employees who file complaints about workplace policy violations or misconduct.

Colton city officials are disputing charges a former employee was terminated unfairly. The ex-city manager filed an employment claim stating he was fired to silence an internal investigation into possible wrongdoing among public officials. The complaint says the way the manager was fired violated open meeting laws.

Key aspects of the Family and Medical Leave Act

Many workers want to be able to take leave from their jobs when needed. This may be for medical reasons, and it may be for family reasons. Either way, they should learn about the Family and Medical Leave Act, so they can know their rights and responsibilities when it comes time to put in for leave.

Knowledge is power, and the more workers know, the more they can confidently pursue what they're entitled to under the law. They can also know their obligations, so they don't do anything that can imperil their employment. There are some important specific things to know.

How California workers handle on-the-job sexual harassment

Los Angeles workers and employers are keenly aware of laws forbidding workplace sexual misconduct. Employment policies and public awareness have not eliminated sexual harassment problems. Out-and-out demands for sexual favors, to prevent termination or ensure a promotion, occur less frequently now than in the past, but harassment can take subtle forms.

The prevalence of offensive sexual comments and unwelcome advances may be much more widespread than believed. Workers might not know whether a single off-handed sexual remark constitutes harassment. Plus, there are always nagging concerns about whether a complaint will be taken seriously and the long-term effects on the victim's job.

Family leave advocates seeking more paid time

One of the most profound challenges for working fathers and working mothers is balancing the time they need to spend working with the time they need to spend taking care of their children. To address this, Congress passed the Family and Medical Leave Act to help dads and moms balance their work and family needs. However, many say that the leave that legislation has provided for is insufficient. For that reason, they are seeking to institutionalize paid leave with a new law called the Family and Medical Leave Act, referred to by many as simply the FAMILY Act.

That legislation was introduced last December by a U.S. Senator and a U.S. Representative. If it passed, it would establish a national insurance to cover paid leave. Workers taking leave for family or medical reasons would be entitled to a percentage of their wages for a period of up to 12 weeks. This would allow many workers who could not afford to take unpaid leave to finally attend to medical and family needs properly.

Wrongful termination, law-breaking alleged by ex-healthcare head

Whistleblowers are protected by California and federal laws from being punished for reporting workplace misconduct or illegal activities. In the medical community, that might include seeing evidence of fraud or other actions in conflict with laws.

A man who served as the interim head of Prima Medical Foundation has filed an employment lawsuit against his former employer. The ex-chief executive officer said he was fired for questioning policies that pressured Prima physicians to refer patients to Marin General Hospital and its affiliate ancillary service companies. A member of the foundation's board is the chief executive officer of Marin General.

Fast food new frontier of wrongful termination

Across all socioeconomic strata, workers have one thing in common: they want to protect their jobs. A part of that protection includes making sure that they will be justly compensated in the event of wrongful termination. Another part is making sure that if they are terminated justly, the standard for doing so is fair and clear. Franchisees want that standard in place so the corporate chains can't end the franchisees' contracts and deprive them of their livelihood.

These aspirations are front and center in the fast food industry, with the world's most popular hamburger restaurants affected by them. In California, a bill could give franchisees protections regarding when their contracts with corporate restaurant chains can be terminated by those chains. If it passes, the bill will have a very significant impact on local business owners who have found the franchise model to be a profitable approach to business.

Do male workers file California sexual harassment claims?

Let's dispel some widely-held myths. Despite employment laws barring it, sexual harassment remains a common, disturbing problem in Los Angeles workplaces. Women traditionally have been targets of this gender-based discrimination, but you might be surprised to know how often males are victims.

California and federal employment laws forbid unwanted sexual comments or actions at work. Laws weren't designed to favor one gender. Male workers' complaints made up more than 16 percent of the 11,364 sexual harassment claims, filed with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission in 2011.

Obama administration pushes for paid maternity leave

Being a working parent is always challenging. There might be a newborn baby who needs bonding time with his or her father and mother or a sick child who needs to be tended too. However, many parents can't afford to take care of their children if they only use the unpaid leave in the Family and Medical Leave Act.

For that reason, fathers and mothers really need paid leave. The Obama administration is addressing the mothers pushing for paid maternity leave. The administration says that the United States remains the only developed country that still does not provide paid maternity leave.