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California Employment Law Blog

3 bills address sexual harassment in California workplaces

The laws in California enable people to hide sexual harassment that occurs in the workplace. This is, in part, due to nondisclosure agreements that often come with settlements. A set of bills that go into effect on January 1, 2019, will make it a bit harder for people to hide these incidents.

The first of these is Assembly Bill No. 2338, which has to do with the entertainment industry. It requires the state's labor commissioner to provide sexual harassment training for workers age 14 to 17 in the entertainment industry. The training must also extend to the teens' parents or legal guardians. Additionally, talent agencies must make materials related to preventing sexual harassment available. The information must also let people know about reporting resources and retaliation. All of this can be provided online.

Wage and hour laws are here to protect employees

You need to get the money that is due you for the time you put in at work. While many employers take pride in paying their employees fairly, others look for any option they have to add even a few cents to their own pockets. When you think that you are being shorted on your pay, you should take the time to explore how wage and hour laws might impact your case.

There are laws in place that protect workers and their rights to get paid what they should. These occur on the federal, state and sometimes local levels. You might have to review all three levels of laws to determine how your case might fare based on them. This is a big undertaking, but we are here to help you learn about what options you have for handling these disputes about your earned pay.

Severance packages are voluntary agreements

Some people who start working for a company opt to do so only when they have a severance agreement in place. This provides them with specific benefits in the event of a termination or other negative employment action. It is imperative to understand what these can do and what you need to do to protect yourself using one.

First, remember that employers don't have to provide a severance agreement. This is completely optional and can be fully customized to fit the situation when one is used. There are many different conditions that might be included in these.

How can you know if you are receiving fair wages for overtime?

When a California worker has concerns about his or her rights regarding fair wages, he or she has the right to seek a beneficial outcome, as well as legal support to address the concern. If you suspect your employer is not paying you fairly, you would be wise to take quick action to protect your interests and seek the pay to which you are entitled. This is often a common concern for workers paid by the hour. 

Before you move forward with legal action, a smart first step is to determine whether your employer falls under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The FLSA is a federal statue that protects your right to fair pay, particularly as it pertains to overtime pay. If you have concerns about your pay, it could be prudent to first reach out for guidance regarding your rights and your legal options.

Sexual harassment has emotional consequences

We recently discussed how victims of sexual harassment might have trouble coming forward regarding the accusations. There are several reasons for this; however, these victims need to come forward if they want the harassment to stop. We understand how hard this is to speak out but we can stand by your side.

Sexual harassment impacts victims in more ways than just physical issues. In fact, not all sexual harassment involves touching. The emotional impact of the events is what has a real impact on the victims. It is also what makes it so hard to handle the aftermath. Physical injuries will heal over time, but you might have to work hard to overcome the mental impacts.

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.

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