California is an employment at will state. This means that, in most cases, both you or your employer can end your employment any time either of you wishes to, with or without cause.
Time was when companies could dictate more or less exactly what their employees could wear to work. Such is not necessarily the case today, however. While no federal law or policy exists that prohibits employers from establishing and enforcing dress codes, they must be careful when doing so.
Sixty years after the Women’s Movement played a huge part in getting U.S. women out of the “housewife” stereotype and into the workplace, gender inequality still exists there. If you are a woman attempting to climb the corporate ladder, you know how difficult that can be, especially if the company for which you work fails to see gender inequality as an issue.
If you are one of the estimated 48.9 Americans who have a disability, you likely already know that the Americans with Disability Act protects you from workplace discrimination. In a nutshell, prospective employers cannot discriminate against you based on your disability, and any employer who hires you must provide you with reasonable accommodations that allow you to successfully perform your work.
No one can expect their workplace to be completely free of office politics, interpersonal disagreements, or any of the other things that unfortunately accompany working with other people. You can expect, however, that your workplace will not become a hostile work environment.
Often, when people focus on the impact of discrimination, they look at the direct impact that mistreatment in the workplace has on an employee. While these challenges are significant and we have covered many on our blog, it is important to realize that the consequences of discrimination in the workplace often disrupt the lives of many other people. For example, when someone is discriminated against at their job, there are a variety of ways in which their spouse and even children are likely to suffer as well.
You probably already know that the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 prohibits your employer from retaliating against you if you discover other employees engaging in illegal acts and report these activities to your superiors and/or to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As you might expect, however, retaliatory acts can take a variety of forms. Consequently, the EEOC explains that both federal law and the U.S. Supreme Court maintain ever-growing lists of prohibited actions, called adverse employment actions, that no employer can take against you should you become a whistleblower.
When it occurs, workplace discrimination can come as quite a shock to employees in California. When people go to work each day, they probably don't expect to be the victim of another person's prejudices. However, the sad reality is that discrimination still occurs in the workplace.
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.
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.