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California Employment Law Blog

Just say no to sexual harassment without fear of retaliation

Sexual harassment in the workplace is forbidden by law. There aren't escape clauses in those laws that make these apprehensible actions acceptable. With this in mind, you should feel free to alert your employer that the sexual harassment occurred. Unfortunately, some people don't feel free to make these reports because they fear that they will be retaliated against.

Retaliation is a problem that is also against the law. As long as the complaint that you make regarding the sexual harassment is truthful, there isn't any reason why you should have to suffer because of that report. In fact, the law strictly forbids employers from retaliating against employees who make factual complaints about illegal matters.

2 Wells Fargo executives allege they were wrongfully terminated

A husband and wife pair, both long term employees of Wells Fargo, filed a joint wrongful termination lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles on Thursday, August 31. In their lawsuit, the spouses acknowledge that their superiors have accused them of engaging in using unethical sales techniques prior to their firings. They, however, allege that their terminations came as a result of accusing their supervisors of impropriety.

The pair both were employed as regional presidents over Southern California branch operations at the time of their firings. The husband had worked for the bank since 2000 and his wife had since 1994. Their terminations happened in March, just a few weeks after some of their superiors had been fired by the company for setting up sham accounts.

Denied your protected family leave? Hold them accountable

The state of California grants its workers a great deal of rights, some of which are duplicated by or in conflict with existing federal laws. Two Acts that commonly are invoked by employees seeking leaves of absence from work are the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Provisions of both mandate that covered workers at qualified business must be allowed time off work due to illness, either their own or a family member's, as well as after the adoption or birth of a child.

Did your employer have the right to fire you?

If you've recently been fired, you may be wondering if your employer really had the right to do so -- especially if the reason seemed unfair or outright ridiculous.

The reality is that most employees in the country are considered "at-will" employees. That essentially means that they can walk away from a job whenever, for any reason. It also means that their employer can usually fire them whenever, for any reason.

A difficult pregnancy shouldn't affect your employment status

Not everyone has an easy pregnancy, but even a normal pregnancy will affect your employment in some ways. However, the way in which it can't affect your job is your boss's reaction. Your employer can't discriminate against you in any fashion because of your pregnancy.

Your employer may even be required to provide you with certain accommodations during your pregnancy. This could even involve moving you into a different position temporarily. However, you should return to your original position when you return to work after the birth. If you are having a particularly difficult pregnancy, you may need to take time off work in order to deal with the issue. You are entitled to take that time.

Know your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act

Finding out that you will need to take time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is something that might seem a bit unsettling. You do have specific rights under this act that you should know about before you take your time off.

One thing that you should remember is that the FMLA guarantees you unpaid leave. There are some instances in which you will be able to get paid leave if you have accrued some; however, you will need to find out if this is the case for you so that you can know what to expect.

A SoFi manager says he was fired for reporting sexual harassment

A student loan refinance startup, Social Finance Inc. (SoFi), had a wrongful termination lawsuit filed against it on Friday, August 11 by one of its former operations managers. The male employee's lawsuit accuses his former employer of having fired him without cause after he reported sexual harassment and other illegal actions his supervisors were seen participating in.

In his lawsuit, the man chronicles how he witnessed as his bosses sexually harassed several of his female co-workers on a number of different occasions. He also accuses his superiors of cancelling loans as a way to avoid having to disclose their mistakes, ones that if found out about, would reduce their expected bonuses.

Review a severance agreement before you sign it

You might love your job and wish that you would keep on working at it until you are ready to retire. In some cases, that is exactly what might happen. In other cases, you and the company you work for might have to part ways. When the reason you have to leave is that a company is downsizing or reorganizing, you might be offered a severance package.

A severance agreement is a document that you will need to sign in order to get the severance package. Just like any other document that requires your signature, you shouldn't sign the agreement unless you have read it, understand each point and agree with the terms.

5 FAQs on workplace sexual harassment in California

As a woman working in the tech industry or a related industry in California, you may feel you need all the help you can get to deal with sexual harassment at work.

It is therefore good to know that the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing recently issued a 9-page guidebook for employers to help them comply with applicable laws against sexual harassment. Such guidance is sorely needed, as women repeatedly face pervasive harassment and hostile corporate cultures in industries such as tech, manufacturing and engineering.

In this post, we will consider some common questions about bringing a claim in California for sexual harassment at work.

Do you have a legal right to severance pay?

Your company is going to let you go. They've been up front about it, so you know it's coming. They've given you a two-week warning. What you really want, though, is severance pay. You know it's going to take time to find a new job and you need money to keep paying the bills during your job search.

You feel like you're entitled to severance pay. After all, you've been with the company for over a decade. Do you have a legal right to be paid on your way out?

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