Law Office of Jeffrey D. Fulton

Sacramento Employment Law Blog

Is my employer required to provide breaks for nursing?

If you are a new mother in California and you are breastfeeding, it is hard enough to leave your baby to go to work, but what happens at work when you need to nurse? Both state and federal laws require that employers not only allow nursing moms the breaks necessary to pump but also a private space to do so.

According to the California Breastfeeding Coalition, employers must provide adequate break time for a mother of an infant to express milk. Ideally, this break should coincide with the employee's regular breaks, and if she needs additional time, the employer does not need to pay for the break. The employee does not need to produce any medical documentation in regard to the need to express milk. The employer must also accommodate, to the best of his or her abilities, the mother by providing a private room during this break. The room should be close to the employee's work station and not be a bathroom. 

Bay area employer violates California labor laws

Employers and employees in California and across the United States know the importance of paying people fairly, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Despite the laws that are in place to protect employees and ensure they are paid a fair wage, receive breaks and get paid overtime, a number of employers continue to violate these standards. When employers do not follow the laws that are put in place, they may end up paying a hefty fine as a result of their noncompliance.

This is what happened to a man who owns several food businesses scattered throughout the bay area. Workers at the food shops complained that they were not receiving the tips that they earned on a daily basis, but rather as a lump sum at the end of the year. This clear violation of California state law was only one of the complaints filed by employees. They also complained of not receiving overtime pay. The employer negotiated with employers and attorneys and came to an agreement to pay employees a $690,000 settlement.

Have you experienced harassment at work?

With the increase in the media coverage of sexual harassment cases, more and more women know what to look out for while at work. The outing of poor and unacceptable behavior makes victims feel unified instead of alone.

Do you know if what you experience is harassment? If you have to wonder about the appropriateness of a comment or touch, it may qualify. Follow these four steps if you believe you have endured harassment at work.

Sexual harassment a pervasive problem in health care

As a resident of California who makes your living working in a hospital, doctor’s office or similar health care or medical setting, you may have firsthand knowledge of just how common sexual harassment has become in your industry. At the Law Office of Jeffrey D. Fulton, we understand that doctors, nurses and other health care workers often experience unwanted sexual attention in health care settings, and we have helped many victims of such behavior pursue appropriate recourse in the aftermath.

According to the Harvard Business Review, the sexual harassment problem is so widespread in the health care field that it has affected somewhere between 30 and 70 percent of all female physicians. The problem also permeates health care educational settings, with about half of all female medical students reporting that they, too, experienced sexual harassment in the classroom or during their training.

What are common wage violations in California?

California employees are entitled to certain benefits, including a minimum wage that is higher than the federal rate, rest and meal breaks and paid overtime for more than eight hours of consecutive work. There are some employers, however, that may try to take advantage of employees by violating work and hour laws set by the Fair Labor Standards Act. By becoming more familiar with the methods employers use to deviate from the set laws, you can minimize your chances of becoming a victim.

One way employers may try to get around the minimum wage law is by paying the minimum wage set by the federal law rather than California’s higher wage rate. Some employers may attempt to have you work without pay or work ‘off the clock,’ while others may offer you a salary that equates out to less than minimum hourly wage.

California makes changes to sexual harassment laws

As more and more women enter the workforce and hold high-ranking positions within a company, more attention has been placed on the topic of sexual harassment. Women and men alike have been victimized by sexual harassment in the workplace, but with the #metoo movement in full force, California and other states in the nation are implementing new laws regarding this form of workplace bullying.

Eight bills were signed with the goal of ensuring gender diversity on company boards and preventing sexual harassment at work. One bill is designed to minimize worker harassment by prohibiting employers from making employees sign certain documents, including one that bans employees from releasing information about unlawful acts that occur in the workplace. Another bill is aimed at allowing certain information involved in sexual harassment cases to be released to the public. Previously, the only information available to the public was the name of the person who filed the claim, as well as the amount of money paid to settle the claim.

Can your boss fire you for being sick?

It is understandable to worry about losing your job if you are in the middle of a nasty flu and you have called in sick for three days in a row. Nobody wants you to share your germs at work, but productivity can also suffer when a member of the team is out sick. If you are fired for a legitimate health issue, you and other Californians might wonder if you have legal rights.

According to FindLaw, employers can fire a worker for any reason, without warning, in an at-will employment state like California. This means that your job can be on the line if you take too many sick days, even if you have a specific number of paid personal time and sick days each year. Most employers will be understanding if an employee is too sick to go in to work, but you may want to be careful about the timing and frequency of calling in sick.

How the Fair Pay Act protects you

Here at the Law Office of Jeffrey D. Fulton in California, we represent numerous workers whose employers have committed wage and/or hour violations against them, depriving them of money they rightfully earned. Some of the protections we like to advise our clients of are those provided by the California Fair Pay Act.

California's Department of Industrial Relations explains that the CFPA prevents your employer from discriminating against you on the basis of gender, race or ethnicity when it comes to your salary or wages. Furthermore, you employer cannot retaliate against you if and when you ask other employees questions about the salary or wage they receive.

New sexual harassment laws in California

A new year brings new changes. On January 1st, 2019, California received some new laws concerning sexual harassment and how the state responds to women and men who charge employees and employers with harassment. 

For too long, people have had to deal with sexual harassment in private. Thanks to the #MeToo movement, people are no longer afraid to come forward, and they can do so with new laws to back them up. 

New California law concerns sexual harassment litigation

Previous posts in this blog address the possibility of an employer’s retaliation against an employee for accusing someone in the workplace of sexual harassment. Whether a person is unfairly demoted, terminated or otherwise disciplined for reporting sexual harassment, retaliation is just as unlawful as the harassment itself. A new law serves to protect California employees from one type of retaliation – defamation litigation – after accusing someone of sexual harassment.

Capital Public Radio reports that the law will be in effect on the first of the year and is meant to prevent those accused of sexual harassment from retaliating by filing defamation lawsuits against their accusers. An example of such retaliatory litigation concerned a woman who was sued for defamation by her manager after asking him not to use inappropriate and potentially offensive language in front of a young, new intern.

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