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Los Angeles Employment Law Blog

What's the Equal Pay Act of 1963?

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Californians are slowly waking up to the fact that men and women don't get paid the same amounts for the same efforts. More often than not -- especially when you look at national averages -- men get paid higher wages than women for the same type, quantity and quality of work.

Unequal pay based on gender is not only immoral and unfair, but is also unlawful. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) protects the sexes from unequal compensation.

The Family and Medical Leave Act protects your job

As someone who is expecting a child in the future, something you're looking forward to is being able to take family and medical leave. Thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), many people can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave that also protects their jobs. During the leave, the act requires that the individuals' health insurance or benefits are maintained.

The FMLA is important because it's a way to encourage balance between responsibilities at home and work. They can take reasonable time away from work to welcome a new child or take protected leave to receive a medical treatment for illness. It encourages individuals to have a life outside their work without the risk of losing their jobs during major life events.

What damages can I pursue in my sexual harassment claim?

Sexual harassment causes emotional and financial harm to employees throughout California. However, the ones who are brave enough to stand up for their legal rights in court can not only stop the sexual harassment that's plaguing them, but they can also pursue financial compensation for the injuries and damages the unconscionable behavior has caused them.

In terms of the types of financial damages that workplace sexual harassment victims can pursue, here's a short list of common categories of damages in such cases:

Former auto executive sues company for wrongful termination

The former safety director at Tesla has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company in a California court. He alleges the automaker fired him after less than four months on the job because he revealed Tesla hadn't properly recorded injuries suffered by employees.

On the company's behalf, Tesla representatives responded that the man was fired not because of concerns about corporate safety but instead over how he treated other employees in the workplace.

What if there's no physical evidence of sexual harassment?

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Some sexual harassers know what they're doing is wrong, and, for this reason, they're careful to cover up their tracks.

They might harass employees in private, where there aren't any witnesses. They might touch or grope employees inappropriately, and when an employee complains, they won't admit to anything.

Los Angeles assemblywoman accused of groping underling employee

Los Angeles Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia has been accused of groping an underling employee. Originally, the complaint filed by her ex-legislative staffer was determined to be unfounded. However, the alleged victim filed a successful appeal of this decision. Now, the assemblywoman will face more scrutiny.

According to the woman's male former legislative staffer, Garcia groped him while they were attending a legislative softball game. According to the staffer's complaint, the incident happened four years ago. The first investigation into the incident did not produce any substantiation to the ex-staffer's claims. Nevertheless, in a favorable response to his appeal, an attorney representing the Assembly notified the staffer that the Assembly Rules Committee would be investigating the matter further.

California and sexual orientation discrimination at work

If you're a homosexual worker living and working in the state of California, you're in luck. Our state is one of the ones that offers protections to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community from workplace discrimination. This is important because, under federal law, homosexuals cannot receive any workplace protections relating to discrimination on the basis of their sexual preferences. Furthermore, there are many states across the nation that offer no such protections to workers.

It's hard to believe that federal law protects you from workplace discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, religion, age, national origin, race, sex and disability, but not on the basis of homosexuality. That is, not unless you work for the federal government. Federal employees do receive protection from sexual orientation discrimination, and – if they are subjected to such discrimination – they can file a formal complaint in court, even if they don't live and work in California.

Watch out for employer retaliation after reporting harassment

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Most companies large enough to have a human resources department have a sexual harassment policy in place. These policies generally outline inappropriate behaviors and provide a means for employees to report experiences of harassment or discrimination in the workplace. When properly enforced, these policies can help protect people from hostile work environments.

Unfortunately for some victims of harassment, the person entrusted with receiving and appropriately escalating these kinds of complaints can become complicit in the harassment. Some might directly engage in creating a hostile work environment, while others may seek to protect the harasser over the person who reports the behavior. For some workers, reporting harassment according to company policy can result in retaliatory actions by their employers.

How to respond to workplace discrimination

No one expects – in this modern age – to be victimized by employment-related discrimination. Whether you are a minority, a person with a disability, a woman or a person who belongs to a certain religion, you probably expect that your employer will respect current laws and treat you equally and respectfully. However, employment-related discrimination continues to be a problem in the United States and anyone, even a white male, could become a victim.

If you are experiencing employment-related discrimination at your workplace, here are a few things you should do:

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