Law Office of Jeffrey D. Fulton

Sacramento Employment Law Blog

Sex discrimination evident in unequal pay, hiring and promotions

People experiencing sex discrimination in California workplaces often have an uphill climb to prove that it is happening. The discriminatory actions might take place over a long stretch of time, such as someone striving for a promotion while working for years. The subjective nature of hiring, which hinges on employer's preferences, can also make discrimination difficult to document. Pay inequities between male and female workers are more apparent. Regardless of any individual's ability to produce evidence about sex discrimination, multiple research studies have concluded that it is widespread throughout society.

A pay analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau showed that women make roughly 80% of what men earn. The recent lawsuit brought forward by members of the U.S. women's soccer team presents a glaring example of unequal pay. The league only pays female soccer players about 38% of what male players make.

Stronger sexual harassment rules issued in California

Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employees in California and across the country are protected against discrimination and sexual harassment. This includes any unwelcome physical or verbal advances or requests for sexual favors. Not only does sexual harassment cause mental trauma, it can interfere in a person’s ability to work by creating a toxic work environment.

A new bill signed by Governor Newsom will increase rights of victims of sexual harassment in California. Although the bill was vetoed last year by the acting governor, it passed this year under the leadership of a governor more sympathetic to the #MeToo movement. The new bill extends the period in which people have to report claims of sexual harassment from one year to three years. 

Can LGBT people be fired for their orientation in California?

Despite major strides forward in the equal treatment of LGBT people in our country’s society, there are still setbacks that you may understandably find disheartening. There are numerous people with prejudices against those with different sexual orientations or gender identification, and they may take any opportunity to discriminate against them. You may be interested in learning about labor protections for LGBT people in California, especially if you are worried about your job.

Can you be fired simply for being gay or lesbian or for identifying as a different gender than your birth-assigned one? According to Inc., 21 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have protections in place for LGBT people in the workforce, California being one of them. This means that your employer is not permitted to discipline or terminate you solely on the basis of your gender identification or sexual orientation. Additionally, your co-workers and superiors may not taunt or harass you for the same.

3 subtle signs of retaliation for a harassment claim

Sexual harassment and sex discrimination have been problems in the workforce for decades. In the #MeToo era, though, a growing number of individuals are identifying improper behavior and exercising their legal right to complain. Nonetheless, sometimes, employers illegally retaliate against workers for reporting harassment or filing an official claim. 

Termination of employment is arguably the clearest indicator of retaliation. Still, retaliation comes in a variety of forms. Here are three subtle signs that you may be the victim of retaliation for complaining about workplace discrimination or harassment: 

Different forms of workplace discrimination

Californian workers have certain protections under the law that disallows them from being discriminated against. However, discrimination can come in many different forms and may be difficult to identify.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) takes a look at the various types of discrimination that are disallowed under national law, which is enforced by EEOC. This may include discrimination due to:

  • Disabilities one may suffer from
  • A person's age
  • Genetic information
  • Race or national origin
  • Religion
  • Sex

Does sexual harassment have to be physical?

In California, there are laws in place that protect workers from being sexually harassed while on the job. We at the Law Offices of Jeffrey D. Fulton are here to discuss what is considered sexual harassment under the law.

Unfortunately, there is a misconception going around that sexual harassment must be physical in order to be breaking any laws. Some people even believe that it has to carry a certain degree of physicality. This can keep victims of sexual harassment from speaking up about the traumatic experiences they have had, just because they don't think their experience is valid.

Could your salary be working against you?

As a worker employed in California, you have rights when it comes to the hours you work and the wages you are paid. However, some employers may try to “cheat the system” and get around giving you what you are owed. Today, we at the Law Office of Jeffrey D. Fulton will examine how being paid a salary can actually work against you.

Though many people are led to believe that receiving a salary is a sign of getting a “real” job, it can actually serve an insidious purpose in the wrong hands. Some employers unfortunately want to pay their workers as little as possible in order to increase their profit margins to the maximum amount. In order to reach that goal, they may pay you a salary.

What makes a termiantion wrongful?

Californian workers depend on your paycheck to meet your daily living expenses, pay your bills, and cover necessities. Accordingly, if you feel you have been wrongfully terminated, you should be able to access compensation to make up for this sudden financial upset in your life.

FindLaw takes a look at wrongful termination claims, asking what makes a termination wrongful in the first place. After all, even in at-will states, there are still reasons for which an employer cannot legally terminate you.

California recently outlawed hairstyle discrimination

Numerous forms of harassment permeated workplaces around California. From sexual harassment to discrimination based on disabilities, many variations have protections. However, there are just as many factors that do not have legal protections. California recently aimed to expand workers' rights by outlawing employers' abilities to discriminate based on a person's hairstyle. 

Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Crown Act into law on July 3rd, 2019. This law makes it illegal to discriminate against workers based on hairstyles, such as braids, afros, locks and twists. Holly Mitchell introduced the legislation based on the belief that Black employees should be able to wear their hair in a manner fitting its natural form, so they do not have to conform to Eurocentric hairstyles. The new law officially goes into effect on January 1st, 2020. For many, the bill is long overdue. 

Sexual harassment in the LGBTQ community

Many California residents believe sexual harassment is only perpetrated by men against women. As we have explained in other posts in this blog, women can also be the instigators of sexual harassment in the workplace. At the Law Office of Jeffrey D. Fulton, we are aware that sexual harassment is also prevalent among LGBTQ people. As you may expect, it can be complicated to recognize and report sexual harassment, regardless of the instigator and the victim.

NBC News discussed numerous instances of LGBTQ-related sexual harassment at work. In the report, victims described feeling confused and violated as they were subjected to unwanted sexual advances, crude comments and retaliation. In one instance, a transgender woman described how she felt victimized and helpless when a superior repeatedly made comments about her body during her transition that were disguised as compliments but crossed the line. In another example, a gay man told about how he was disciplined for being late after he rejected the physical advances of a male supervisor.

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