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Los Angeles Employment Law Blog

Whistleblowers deserve protection from wrongful termination

California employers have broad discretion to fire employees under the employment-at-will rule. Still, if an employer discharges an employee for a reason that is specifically prohibited, the employee may have a wrongful termination case against the employer. One specifically prohibited reason is retaliation for filing a whistleblower claim.

We discussed an alleged whistleblower retaliation case not long ago. The case involves an auto executive at a California car manufacturer. The executive claimed he was terminated because he blew the whistle on unsafe working conditions and improper handling of worker injuries. The car manufacturer, on the other hand, claimed that the executive was fired for unrelated reasons. The manufacturer claimed that the executive had inappropriate interactions with other employees.

Changes to overtime laws proposed by U.S. Department of Labor

A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, to increase the income threshold for overtime pay.

Currently, non-exempt workers who make $455 a week or less ($23,660 annually) are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week.

Know your rights under California's parental and family leave law

Under the California Family Rights Act, the state of California allows employees to take time off work for a number of health and child-related reasons. These reasons include the birth of a child and the adoption or foster care placement of a child. They also include serious illness experienced by the employee or by the employee's child, parent or spouse. Employers must respect their employees' rights to time off and they cannot fire or otherwise punish an employee for exercising their rights under the law.

The CFRA applies to employees with at least 12 months of service to an employer. If an employee has worked at least 1,250 hours during the preceding 12 months of employment, they are eligible for CFRA protection. If such an employee experiences the birth or adoption of a child, or has to deal with serious illness experienced by themselves or their spouse, child or parent, the employee is eligible for a maximum of 12 workweeks of leave over a 12-month period.

Blowing the whistle on the many types of workplace discrimination

Workplace discrimination is rampant. We live in an unfair society that bends and breaks the laws all the time. Unfortunately, many well-deserving employees are at risk for losing their jobs due to unfair treatment. It is important that employees know when they are being discriminated against and how to blow the whistle on such behavior.

Not all discrimination is the same. It is not always obvious when you are being purposely targeted within your workplace. You must know the different types of workplace discrimination. When you know what to look out for, you can gather evidence to support your lawsuit.

Frequently asked questions about workplace harassment

Sexual harassment can occur in any workplace, no matter what industry, where it is located or what size it is.

Victims of sexual harassment should be aware of their legal rights and options. But myths and misconceptions about sexual harassment – and fear of speaking out – can prevent employees from getting the help they need.

Does gender discrimination run deeper than you think?

It’s no great secret that gender bias exists in many workplaces. However, recent economic studies may indicate that where a woman is born and where she ends up influence certain gender discrimination trends.

A study conducted by economists Kerwin Kofi Charles of the University of Chicago, Jonathan Guryan of Northwestern University and Jessica Pan of National University of Singapore revealed trends about women in the work place.

Don't face improper workplace discrimination alone

California law protects workers from many kinds of unfair discrimination in the workplace. Employers cannot discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, gender identity, age and a number of other factors. As we talked about last month, California law also protects workers with disabilities from unfair discrimination.

Disability is defined as a condition that limits a worker's ability to perform a major life activity. If an employee with a disability meets the qualifications to do the job, their employer must provide them with reasonable accommodations unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer. A reasonable accommodation could include providing accessible facilities or modified furniture, devices or equipment.

Former political figure, party accused of sexual harassment

There is a lot of evidence that sexual harassment is a deep-seated problem at a variety of employers in Pasadena and California. It sometimes seems that no sector of the economy is immune from sexual harassment and that it is a problem at all points on the political spectrum. A recent California news item is a reminder that there are many places that are negatively impacted by sexual harassment.

Three former staffers of the California Democratic Party have filed a lawsuit against the party's former chairman and the party itself. The lawsuit alleges that the party suffered a culture of sexual harassment and intimidation during the former chairman's tenure. The complaint states that an atmosphere of workplace drinking, retaliation and inappropriate comments reigned among the top officials at the political party.

Proving age discrimination in workplace

Age discrimination can make for a hostile and frustrating work environment. As a worker, you may feel as strong and empowered in your work than ever before, but continue to face comments about being old, slow or behind the times. If this has happened to you, you are not alone. Sixty-four percent of workers have said they have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace and in 2017, there were 18,376 complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about age discrimination. 

Workplace discrimination due to age does not have a positive future. In the last 25 years, the percentage of workers over the age of 55 has doubled. With so many older workers, there will be increased chances of discrimination. While proving age discrimination can be difficult, if you believe you are a victim of age discrimination, here is what you should be looking for that can help prove your case.

California law protects disabled workers from discrimination

It is important that disabled individuals are given the same chance to perform work they are qualified for and earn a living as individuals who do not have a disability do. Disabled persons in California are protected from workplace discrimination both by federal law and by state law. Three of these state laws include the Disabled Persons Act, the Unruh Civil Rights Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Not only do these laws protect disabled individuals from being discriminated against in the workplace, but they also require employers to make "reasonable accommodations" that will allow a disabled individual to perform their work duties.

The state of California has a broad definition of "disabilities." Under state law, a disability is a condition that limits a person's ability to perform a major life activity. Not only does this definition encompass physical and mental disabilities, such as blindness, physiological conditions and clinical depression, but it also includes other medical conditions, such as cancer. However, not every medical condition is considered a disability under California law.

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