Law Office of Jeffrey D. Fulton

Sacramento Employment Law Blog

Does your employer have to follow ADA regulations?

Like most in Sacramento, you likely take great pride in your career and your ability to thrive within it. That ability can be significantly hindered if you were to develop a disability or acquire one in an accident. Yet part of coping with a disability is being able to continue to do those things which you value (such as working). However, what if your employer tries to tell you that your new limitations prevent you from returning to work? The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits an employer from discriminating against you based on a physical or mental disability. What if your employer, however, claims that it is exempt from having to adhere to it? 

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lists the employers required to follow the mandates of the ADA. These include: 

  • State and local government organizations
  • Private companies
  • Labor unions and management committees
  • Employment staffing agencies

What you should know about sexual harassment in the food industry

Working in the food industry can be tough. Restaurants often include a fast-paced environment, and you must not only learn to multi-task several tables at once but also deal with people who are difficult to work with. For you and many other California restaurant employees, sexual harassment may be one more unpleasant thing you face each day on the job.

Unfortunately, sexual harassment is more common in the restaurant industry than many people think. A recent poll by the Hart Research Association showed that 40 percent of females in the industry reported encountering sexual harassment at least once at work. Additional studies revealed 90 percent of restaurant industry employees, both male and female, said it had happened to them. You should also know that incidents of workplace-related sexual harassment may be higher than the official numbers since many victims are too afraid or ashamed to report it or may not recognize the incidents as harassment.

The ongoing definition of sexual harassment relationships

Reports of sexual harassment in California are currently filling the state and national news outlets. While these news items tend to concern unwanted sexual advances or offensive sexual comments in the workplace, the scope of sexual harassment code in the state is not strictly limited to events occurring in an office.

New cases are coming to light concerning figures as prominent as film industry magnates and state legislators. The recent statements made by members of the congressional delegation and a congresswoman regarding sexual harassment in the government underscore this. However, a report from Los Angeles Times states that the very possibility of liability between members of congress is a subject of debate.

What are some exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine?

California is an at-will employment state, which essentially means that your employer has the right to terminate you at any time, and for almost any reason. Similarly, as an at-will employee, you have the right to leave or quit your job at virtually any time, and for any reason. There are some important exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine, however, and if your employer violates your rights in this regard, you may be able to seek recourse.

Per The Balance, while your employer may be able to fire you because he or she no longer wishes to, for example, maintain your position, he or she may not terminate your employment for any reason that interferes with your protected rights. In other words, he or she cannot fire you because of your color, religious preference, age, disability, sexual orientation or what have you.

An overview of California’s child labor laws

If you live and work in California, your employer must adhere to the state’s wage and hour laws, and if you have a child in the state’s workforce, their employer, too, must follow laws regarding the employment of minors. At the Law Office of Jeffrey D. Fulton, we have a firm understanding of California’s child labor laws, and we have helped many families whose children were taken advantage of by their employers seek recourse.

The California Department of Industrial Relations is the governing body responsible for setting guidelines regarding child labor laws, and the rules that govern your child’s ability to work in the state vary based on his or her age. Children who are 12 and 13, for example, may not lawfully work on school days at all, although they can work on holidays, vacation days and, typically, weekends. When school is not in session, 12 and 13-year-olds can work as much as eight hours a day or 40 hours per week, but not more. They can also typically work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., although they can work until 9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day.

What evidence is needed to prove discrimination?

Discrimination claims in California can often be difficult to prove. The legal system tried very hard to ensure both sides are given fair consideration and opportunity to prove their cases. This means you need to be able to provide adequate proof that discrimination occurred. The law has strict standards as to what burden of proof must be met.

According to the Department of Justice, you are protected against discrimination due to your religion, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation or disability. When you make a claim of discrimination, though, you are subject to the general rules of the legal system, which say you must prove your case using evidence. This helps to prevent people from making false claims. However, it also can make it difficult to prove your case since some discrimination is done very subtly or in a way that is hard to prove. To help, the courts have outlined the specific types of evidence you may provide in court.

Understanding California’s Fair Pay Act

Understanding California’s Fair Pay Act

Beginning January 1, 2017, California workers gained additional guarantees of equal pay for equal work. As the California Department of Industrial Relations explains, the California Equal Pay Act, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in October 2015, prohibits employers from paying workers of one sex less than workers of the opposite sex who perform substantially the same work.

Are there laws against wrongful termination?

You may think that wrongful termination only covers situations such as whistleblowing. However, this term covers many situations you might encounter, and it is helpful to understand what circumstances are considered wrongful termination according to California law.

Many of the situations in which you might be wrongfully terminated involve your civic duties. The State of California says that you cannot be fired if you receive a subpoena and must go to court or if you serve as a juror. Additionally, if you volunteer as part of an emergency rescue team or as a firefighter, you can legally be away from your job for two weeks to receive training. You usually must tell your employer ahead of time that you will be away, particularly if your service is needed.

When must overtime be paid?

If you are a California worker, your overtime wages must be paid at the same time as your regular wages. In most cases, this is at least twice during each calendar month. The California Department of Industrial Relations says that many employers choose to pay their workers semi-monthly. If this is the payment schedule your employer chooses, the wages for work you perform between the first and 15th day of a month must be paid by the 26th of that month. Wages for work you perform between the 15th and ending day of a month must be paid by the 10th of the following month.

If your employer has established a different payroll period, such as every week or every other week, your wages must be paid within seven calendar days after the end of the payroll period in which you performed the work. Be aware that if you are an executive, professional or administrative employee rather than an hourly worker, your employer is allowed to pay you on a monthly basis.

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