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What are the basics of a workplace discrimination claim?

Many of our previous posts here have discussed specific instances of workplace discrimination that have occurred in California. It is, unfortunately, a fact of life that discrimination still occurs in the workplace on any given day.

When discrimination does occur, those employees who have been the victim of discrimination may feel compelled to take action. But, what are the basics of a workplace discrimination claim?

Is your employer stealing your chances for overtime?

Your paycheck may never seem as much as you think it should be. If you stop to count up the hours you spend on the job, you may feel as if you are giving more hours for less money. For many in California who are unaware of their rights regarding fair wages, this may not be far from the truth.

Both federal and state laws require employers to pay workers a just wage. If you are an hourly worker, chances are you are not exempt from laws related to overtime pay. Is it possible that your boss is stealing wages from you by making you work off the clock?

New sexual harassment laws enacted

California has been on the forefront of taking action to protect workers in recent years, with court rulings and new laws providing more protection than ever before it seems. And, as California has been the focal point of the so-called #MeToo movement, national media attention has been focused on progress in the state as well.

Our readers may have seen news articles that detail a couple newer laws that were signed into effect recently. A recent news article detailed how the new protections seem to be a direct result of the #MeToo movement and efforts to shine a brighter light on sexual harassment in the workplace. For starters, the new laws provide more time for victims of sexual harassment to report the alleged violations. Proponents of extending the time to report violations say that some victims of sexual harassment in the workplace simply were not aware of the previous timeframe restrictions to report. The new law should help.

How to tell if you are protected from workplace discrimination

Many of our readers in California know that state and federal laws exist that protect workers from discrimination in the workplace, but some do not know how to tell if those laws actually apply to them, or to any potentially discriminatory conduct they may have encountered in the workplace. Knowing those basics can help California workers protect their rights.

For starters, it is important to understand that many employment law protections apply not just to those who are actively employed, but to those who are applicants for employment as well. Just as employers are prohibited from engaging in discriminatory conduct toward employees, employers are also prohibited by law from engaging in discriminatory conduct when it comes to people who are applying to seek employment.

Do you suspect your employer unlawfully fired you?

Though you may not enjoy every aspect of your job, you still do your best to perform the duties expected of you. You may not always feel like you should be the one to carry out certain tasks, but because you value your status as a good employee, you follow orders. Because you always do your best, you may have been shocked when your employer fired you.

Then again, you may not have been entirely shocked. If your employer had been treating you unfairly for some time, you may have worried that you would continue to face mistreatment. You may already suspect that your employer illegally dismissed you, but wisely, you want more information about wrongful termination.

Did your employer fail to prevent workplace harassment?

Most people work as employees for someone else, unless they own their own business. You may enjoy your job and the work you perform, even though you do have superiors to whom you answer. While working for someone else may not be a particular issue for you, working in a hostile work environment is a problem.

When you first started your job, you may not have noticed anything that made you feel uncomfortable. Over time, however, you began to experience discriminatory actions or other harassment from your co-workers, or even your superiors. As the mistreatment went on, you began to feel as if you could not perform your work-related duties well.

Are you eligible for Family and Medical Leave?

If you are expecting a child, facing surgery or dealing with an illness you expect will sideline you from work for some time, you may have concerns about how to approach your boss for time off. Perhaps you know that the amount of time you need off will place your job in jeopardy, and this may be the worst possible time to lose your income.

Fortunately, if your job employs at least 50 people and you have worked there for 12 months or more, you may qualify for time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act. This federal law provides job security to those who need to step away from their jobs temporarily to deal with matters of health or family.

Looking at legal options when you were fired for illegal reasons

Anyone who has ever been fired or "let go" from a position of employment could tell our readers in California that it certainly is not a pleasant experience. Besides the incredibly awkward interaction involved when an employer informs an employee of the termination of employment, most people who lose their jobs are immediately thrust into a financial crunch due to the loss of income. However, for those who have been fired from employment due to what they believe are illegal reasons, there may be legal options to consider.

Most of our readers in California probably know that discrimination in the workplace is illegal. After all, California has been ground zero for the so-called "Me Too" movement, which has shed a light on sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace. But, discrimination can occur in many other ways as well. Employers may discriminate against employees based on race, age, religious beliefs, disability or even for taking leave under a legally protected status, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Is the federal government ignoring employee rights?

Some Federal Employees say they faced discrimination because they served in the military. According to the accusation against the federal government, employees that served in the Reserves or National Guard were denied promotions.

The employees believe they were denied promotions because they were often away from their civilian jobs, serving the military.

Have you been affected by workplace discrimination?

It is a sad reality that discrimination in the workplace still exists in today's society. Unfortunately, we are all used to seeing news stories about workplace discrimination with far too much frequency.

How can victims of workplace discrimination prove that such conduct has occurred?

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