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Los Angeles Employment Law Blog

Sexual harassment must be unwanted

When a California employee faces sexual harassment on the job, it can destroy the employee's ability to be productive and get his or her job done. It's a torturous condition for the victim to be in. He or she merely wants to go to work and do as well as he or she can, but the employee also has to deal with sexually charged feelings, aggressive behavior and interpersonal stresses that serve absolutely no practical purpose on the job.

Victims of sexual harassment can tell their harassers to stop the behavior. They can complain to superiors to speak with the harasser and take disciplinary action. They can also complain to the human resources department. However, there are numerous cases when a victim's complaints are ignored and a company does nothing to stop the abuse.

Age discrimination: What to do before you sue

You never thought you'd be the victim of workplace discrimination, but age discrimination is something that can affect everyone who tries to stay in his or her job after the age of 50. Perhaps you were passed up for an opportunity you were qualified for because a younger -- but less qualified -- colleague also wanted the position. Perhaps you got fired because they thought you were too old to get the job done.

Regardless how your age discrimination happened, here's what to do before you sue:

  • Get a lawyer who represents employees in who have been discriminated against. Enlist your lawyer's help in answering the following questions and completing the following steps.
  • Research anti-discrimination laws -- both federal law and California state law, and write down the names of the government agencies responsible for investigating cases of age discrimination in your area.
  • Take note of whether the laws apply to the size of the company that employed you. Sometimes, your company needs to have 20-plus employees for you to get protection.
  • Figure out what time limitations may apply to your case. How much time do you have left to sue?
  • Research what kinds of damages you can pursue. Is it permissible to pursue attorneys fees and punitive damages for your particular case?
  • Ask your lawyer for a complete review of the documentation you signed at the onset of your employment. Do this immediately following a termination to determine if you have the right to negotiate a severance package and what kinds of benefits you're entitled to receive under the agreement.
  • Establish a written record of the age discrimination. For example, write down and take notes about inappropriate comments regarding your age from your colleagues or superiors.

Google fires employee over controversial diversity memo

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Are women underrepresented in the tech industry because of a lack of interest - or because they are not biologically predisposed to have an interest in technical and engineering careers?

One former employee believes it is the latter - and he published a memo criticizing the company for creating a "politically correct monoculture". He believed that Google was prioritizing diversity inclusion efforts in the workplace instead of the business.

Whistleblowers can seek protection from wrongful termination

You probably didn't think your company was breaking the law when you got hired, but during the course of your employment, you found out that your company was making a lot of legal "missteps." After it weighed on your conscience for some time, you decided to file a report with your boss' boss so that the unlawful behavior would stop. The next thing you know, you're out of a job.

If you reported one of your co-workers, or your company for breaking the law, then you are a "whistleblower." If you lost your job due to whistleblowing, then you may have a viable claim to seek financial compensation for lost wages and other damages relating to your wrongful termination.

Ex-financial advisor says she was sexually harassed

An ex-Morgan Stanley financial advisor says she was victimized by on-the-job sexual harassment while employed by the investment firm. The woman says that Morgan Stanley wrongfully terminated her after she complained about sexual harassment perpetrated by one of her managers. The manager, she says, asked her to send him a sexually explicit picture of herself.

According to the woman's lawsuit, which she filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, sexually harassing behavior was the norm at Morgan Stanley during her employment at a Santa Monica branch of the firm. In the action, the woman cited the following causes of action: sexual harassment, wrongful termination, retaliation, sex discrimination, failure to prevent harassment, failure to prevent discrimination and failure to prevent retaliation.

Fewer meal and rest breaks for truck drivers?

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Truck drivers have hard jobs. They commonly work 10- to 12-hour shifts, and must meet strict delivery deadlines, and must constantly deal with traffic and unpredictable road and weather conditions. Their meal and rest breaks are important to their safety and well-being.

California truckers are currently subject to state laws regarding meal and rest breaks. Most transportation employees in California are entitled to a 30-minute meal break every four hours, and a 10-minute break for every four hours worked.

Hostile work environment and sexual harassment in California

Workers in California have a number of rights, which employers may not violate. One of these rights involves the right to be free of a hostile work environment. Unfortunately, however, hostile work environments -- in which sexual harassment, unwanted touching, unwanted sexual advances, debasing sexual language and/or constant inappropriate comments are the norm -- are not uncommon in our state.

California law recognizes hostile work environment sexual harassment as one of the legal categories of sexual harassment. This kind of harassment is different from quid pro quo sexual harassment because hostile work environment harassment can be carried out by any employee, not just a superior. Furthermore, no threats, promises or potentially negative consequences are required for a co-worker's actions to be considered a hostile act of harassment.

More sexual harassment accusations at Fox

The Fox Business Network has fallen into a sexual harassment scandal regarding the host of its program "Making Money." The sexual harassment investigation is currently pending against new host Charles Payne.

According to news reports, the investigation relates to a female political analyst who has accused the man of sexually harassing her. A spokesperson for the Fox Business Network said that those in leadership positions at Fox take "...issues of this nature extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy for any professional misconduct." The news host has been suspended from being on the air while the matter is being investigated.

Have any of these sexual harassment scenarios happened to you?

Imagine you start a new job. You have a feeling that the hiring manager may have had a thing for you during the job interview. You felt it at the time, but it was very subtle, needed the job and dismissed it as nothing. However, after several weeks in your new occupation, the subtle thing that was easy to dismiss eventually became a giant elephant in the room.

If you're experiencing sexual harassment on the job, it might be easy to ignore it and hope it goes away. Sometimes, though it never goes away. Here are some common examples of sexual harassment that many California employees can relate to:

Gender-based discrimination is still a major problem

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Despite progress in gender equality over the past few decades, gender-based discrimination and harassment still occur in workplaces.

Across the country, women experience all types of unfair treatment at work. Some examples of gender-based discrimination and harassment may include:

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