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February 2017 Archives

Pregnancy discrimination and reasonable accommodation

People in California who are pregnant may not be aware of their workplace rights and what constitutes discrimination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes pregnancy discrimination illegal even though in South Dakota, lawmakers voted that employers did not have to make certain accommodations for pregnant employees. However, an employer is not supposed to fire, penalize or deny a job or promotion to a woman because she is pregnant.

Is HR really looking out for you?

As an employee, you depend upon your HR department to protect you in the event that you encounter challenges in the workplace. When you reach out to them for assistance, you trust that they will take action to address the problems and ensure that they do not happen again. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

California law is strict on religious discrimination

The law may view an employee who is exposed to harassment or a disagreeable working situation because of his or her religious beliefs as a victim of religious discrimination. While offhand comments or incidents involving simple teasing are not considered unlawful, repeated offensive remarks about religious beliefs might be, especially when they create a hostile work environment. Claims for religious discrimination are normally filed in Federal Court, but in California, state law provides better protection for harassed workers due to its strong, clear language.

Most EEOC discrimination complaints are for retaliation

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission helps California residents to seek appropriate compensation after they have been unlawfully discriminated against at work. While most employment discrimination cases are resolved with out-of-court mediation and settlements, some cases go to trial. In fiscal 2016, the EEOC has a 76 percent success rate for mediated cases and a 90.6 percent success rate for litigated cases.

Uncertainty around LGBTQ rights in the workplace

California LGBTQ employees who are currently protected from workplace discrimination may wonder if that will change under the Trump administration. In 2014, an executive order signed by Barack Obama prohibited discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation by federal contractors. It extended protections put in place by Lyndon Johnson in 1965 that made discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex and color illegal. However, conflicting information has come from the Trump administration as to whether it will continue to protect these rights.

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