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California Employment Law Blog

Victims of sexual harassment might not want to file a report

Being sexually harassed at work is never a pleasant experience. These situations often come with a lot of uncertainty. People don't always realize that the mental and emotional turmoil can often be greater than the physical impacts. This is one of the reasons why some people never speak up.

Oftentimes, it takes victims of sexual harassment time to work through their own feelings so they are able to speak up about what happened. This is difficult for some people to understand because they haven't been through it themselves. In many cases, the victim simply doesn't want to have to relive the incident through having to discuss it over and over again.

Unpaid medical leave protections for California workers

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provides some protections for workers that are very similar to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). There are a few differences that distinguish the two. Understanding what rights you have under both might help you determine which one you need to use to seek leave.

Both the CFRA and the FMLA provide unpaid time off for employees who meet specific criteria. They can take up to 12 weeks of leave per 12-month period for the birth of a child, the placement of a foster child in the home or the adoption of a child.

Meal breaks are required for most employees in California

The human body isn't meant to work constantly. People who are working need to be able to rest for a little bit. They also need to eat. The Labor Code in California sets specific standards for employers so that employees know they can take care of these basic needs.

If you work at least five hours in a shift, you are required to get a 30-minute meal break. The only exception to this requirement is if you work less than six hours and you agree that you don't need to take the break.

Sexual harassment complaints can come from witnesses

Being sexually harassed at work can mean more than just someone touching you in a sexual manner. In fact, many instances of sexual harassment are verbal. This can make the entire workplace uncomfortable. They are all completely unacceptable. We realize that a hostile work environment has a negative impact on you.

Many people don't realize just how large the scope of sexual harassment is. They think that the person who is making the complaint has to be the person who is being harassed. This isn't the case. You can file a complaint about sexual harassment even if you only hear another worker having to deal with unwanted advances. We are here to help you learn about the forms of sexual harassment that might occur and to learn how you might address them if they happen to you.

Your job should be waiting for you after a deployment

Whether you are in the reserves, are subject to recall by the U.S. Armed Forces or face the potential of the National Guard calling you into service, you may have received orders deploying you for a significant amount of time. You know that you must do your duty, but you wonder whether your civilian job will be waiting for you when you return.

The simple answer is that your employer should hold your position for you. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act guarantees it. However, you need to meet certain conditions in order to bind your employer to the provisions of the act.

Wrongful termination comes after participation in a protected act

You probably never go into a shift at work thinking that it is going to be your last unless you've turned in your notice that you're leaving the job. For some people, the unexpected loss of a job happens while they are just trying to get their work done. There are protections for workers who are wrongfully terminated, but this doesn't apply to all cases.

California is an at-will employment state so employers technically don't need a reason to fire you. There are some specific situations in which they can't fire you. If you have participated in a protected activity, the employer can't use termination as a retaliatory measure. Here are some of these activities:

  • Working with investigators: You can't be terminated for cooperating with an investigation into potentially illegal activities at the workplace.
  • Filing a complaint: Your employer can't fire you because you file a complaint with the authorities for unlawful activities at the company, including those related to sexual harassment or safety violations.
  • Making a complaint: You can't be let go because you make a complaint to human resources about harassment or discrimination on the job.

You can negotiate a California severance package

You walk into your office ready for a hard day of work. An hour later, you walk back out into the California morning sunshine with a pink slip.

In between, you sit numb, half listening as your company's human resources representative tells you when your final paycheck will be directly deposited and the status of your medical insurance. She gives you some papers to sign and get back to the company.

Pay discrepancies must be handled swiftly so you have your money

You deserve the pay that you are due for the hours that you worked. Unfortunately, some employers want to make as much money as they can, even if it means that they short their employees' pay. We understand that you might want to just get your money and not have to battle with your employer.

In some instances, employers aren't making purposeful omissions of your pay. When you bring the discrepancies to their attention, they will likely fix them and ensure that things are correct moving forward. The issue comes in when they won't acknowledge the problem or don't want to correct it.

Workers' compensation claims can't led to termination

California is an at-will employment state, which means that employers can pretty much fire you for any reason or no reason at all. There are some exceptions to this, as employers can't terminate you for a protected reason, even in an at-will state.

One factor that can't lead to termination is your filing a valid workers' compensation claim. In these cases, you can't be fired because of the impacts of the injury or because you filed a report outlining some safety defect within the company.

What damages may you seek in response to harassment and violence?

Many people take pride in the fact that California is one of the most diverse states in the union. You would think that fact would preclude harassment and hate violence in the workplace, but sadly, many workers in the state continue to experience it.

In order to combat these deplorable actions, the state passed the Ralph Civil Rights Act to protect people from threats or acts of violence. Anyone considered the member of a class protected under the act may file a complaint seeking damages for the harm suffered at the hands of an abuser in the workplace.

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