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Sacramento Employment Law Blog

Gender discrimination in the workplace

Working women in California will find themselves running into the gender wage gap time and time again, even in the year 2017. It's an unfortunate truth that gender discrimination still exists even in the modern workplace, and it can have a severe impact on all women working in it.

Huffington Post lists some statistics based on workplace gender discrimination, showing the cents that every women gets to the dollar that every man gets. On average, the breakdown looks like this:

  • Asian women make roughly 85 cents to a man's dollar
  • White women make 75 cents
  • Black women make 63 cents
  • Latina women make 54 cents

Protection against employment retaliation in California

People often wonder why an employee might put up with years of on-the-job harassment or unfair treatment. One common reason for this is the fear that filing a claim or even just speaking to a supervisor about the issue could negatively affect the employee's position with the company.

It is important to know that California law offers certain types of protection from employer retaliation. If you have concerns about possible retaliation for addressing harassment or discrimination issues at work, consulting an experienced employment attorney can help you figure out the best approach for protecting yourself.

Understanding affirmative action in the workplace

When people think about affirmative action, they may realize they do not know much about it. Because this policy is designed to help prevent discrimination in the workplace, it can be helpful for California residents to understand how it can affect their workplace.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, affirmative action is intended to ensure everyone has equal access to work and educational opportunities. Most people may think the people who benefit most from this policy are ethnic groups such as African-Americans, women and other minorities such as Hispanics. However, affirmative action is not just a policy for the workplace. Many universities also use affirmative action to make sure Hispanic and African-American students are represented among the student body.

What is a waiting time penalty?

When you leave your job in California, it is with the understanding that you will receive compensation for the last hours you put in. There may be times, though, when you do not receive your full wages for these hours. In these cases, your company may be subject to a waiting time penalty.

If your employer intentionally has not paid your remaining wages, the company may be penalized. The State of California says that this does not apply in all cases; typically, you must have been either laid off or discharged or have quit your job. Additionally, you usually need to have a clear employer-employee relationship for a company to be penalized for withholding wages. While you may think that your boss needs to have done something worthy of blame, this is usually not the case. All that is usually required for this penalty to apply is that your boss realizes your wages have been left unpaid.

Factors used to determine a hostile work environment

Sexual harassment can come in many forms, one of which is a hostile work environment. If you are unsure about whether your workplace in California falls into this category, it can be a good idea to learn about the factors that are used to make this determination. We at the Law Office of Jeffrey D. Fulton have outlined the basics about this topic and can fight for your rights if you are a victim of this type of harassment.

According to WorkplaceFairness.org, a court will have to take several factors into consideration before deciding whether or not your work environment is hostile. One of the many questions you will need to give an answer to is how often the offensive conduct was repeated. To strengthen your case, it is a good idea to keep a log of what type of conduct, verbal or physical, happened on which dates. This will allow you to verify the frequency of the offenses to the court.

What is the meaning of disparate impact?

Workplace discrimination can be overt and intentional, as in cases of disparate treatment, but it is no less harmful when it manifests itself in more subtle and unintentional ways, as in cases of disparate impact. California companies that apply policies and procedures that seem to be nondiscriminatory but actually have an adverse impact upon persons within a particular group are liable for the harm caused to them. This kind of disparate impact discrimination at your place of employment is unlawful and may give rise to a claim for relief and compensation.

In California, according to California Civil Jury Instruction 2502, a claim for disparate impact requires that you either worked for an employer with a discriminatory practice or you applied for a job with an employer that had a discriminatory hiring policy. Disparate impact, however, is incomplete unless you were harmed and the policy or practice factored into causing that harm in a major way.

Understanding the nuances of wrongful termination

You may consider that a wrongful termination is simply one you consider to be unfair. However, wrongful termination usually does not have much to do with fairness. At the Law Office of Jeffrey Fulton, we know that it is important for you to understand this phenomenon so you can take the necessary steps if you think your firing was illegal.

You may be wrongfully fired under a variety of circumstances. WorkplaceFairness.org says that if you have an employment contract, your firing may be unjust if the terms of the contract were breached by your employer. This breach of contract can extend to written information and verbal promises. This means that if you were fired instead of disciplined according to the methods your employee manual lays out, your termination may be unlawful.

Are you aware of these less familiar types of sexual harassment?

When you think of sexual harassment, you probably imagine someone touching you inappropriately or threatening to terminate you unless you provide sexual favors. Although these are the most extreme types of sexual harassment, they are not the only unacceptable behaviors you may experience. 

It is important to know all the forms of sexual harassment so you can recognize it when it happens to you. You do not have to put up with any level of harassing behavior, no matter how normal or small it may seem. Remember that these actions can come from other women, too, not just from men.

What breaks am I entitled to at work?

Whether you have recently started a new job in California or you have been at the same place of employment for many years, the policies concerning breaks can still be unclear and confusing. Sometimes, your employer may be to blame, but other times the problem may simply be a miscommunication. The State of California Department of Industrial Relations has detailed exactly what you need to know about work breaks in order to ensure you are following the law and being given all the time off that you deserve.

According to state laws, you must be given a meal break of at least 30 minutes if you will be working five or more consecutive hours in a day. If you work 10 hours, your employer is required to give you a second meal break of at least 30 minutes. 

Transgender protection against employment discrimination

Recent years have been quite busy for those in the LGBT community who have been seeking civil rights. While California is a fairly LGBT-friendly state, there have been some times in the past when situations were not covered by law and actions could be taken to legally discriminate. Transgendered individuals, specifically, still face many barriers to equality. Fortunately, when it comes to employment, transgendered people are protected by federal and state laws.

The National Center for Transgender Equality notes transgender workers are protected against discrimination based on their gender identity under rulings from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, federal courts and the U.S Department of Justice. This basically means employers cannot refuse to hire or fire someone simply because he or she is a transgendered person. In addition, to those basic rights, a transgendered person cannot be required to produce documentation regarding gender and cannot be refused the right to use the restroom matching his or her gender identity.

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