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Los Angeles Employment Law Blog

Employers have an obligation to treat workers fairly

While an employer can terminate a worker for many different reasons, workers do have some protections against wrongful termination. For instance, a worker in California cannot be terminated because he or she reported a potentially illegal workplace activity. This is true whether the activity was reported to a state or federal agency or a representative of the company. It is important to point out that the employee must legitimately believe that a violation occurred.

Employees also cannot be terminated for participating in an investigation or lawsuit involving potentially illegal activity. To qualify as a wrongful termination, a worker must show that he or she was taking part in a protected activity. Furthermore, the person must have been punished for his or her legal actions. Examples of a punishment may include being demoted or losing benefits in addition to being terminated.

Lawsuit from Trump's personal driver pursues unpaid overtime

Unpaid overtime is an issue that plagues many workers in California. A lawsuit filed by Donald Trump's personal driver has brought national attention to this problem. Before the Secret Service took over transporting the new president, the driver chauffeured Trump for over 25 years. The lawsuit from the 59-year-old man claims that his employer, the Trump Organization LLC, owes him for 3,300 hours of overtime.

According to court papers, the driver needed to be on duty by 7 a.m. every day. He could not cease working until he was tolld that he was no longer needed for the day. His work weeks often ran as long as 55 hours. In 2003, his salary totaled $62,700 and went up to $68,000 in 2006. By 2010, he was earning $75,000, but at that point his employer revoked his health insurance benefits.

Pregnancy discrimination rising in workplaces

Women in California may have good reason to be concerned about pregnancy discrimination on the job. While the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was intended to address this issue (the act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to designate it as a form of sex discrimination), women continue to report significant problems in the workplace. Even after many large companies advertise benefits like parental leave and work-life balance, many expecting mothers have found that their workplaces continue to pass them over for responsibilities and promotions.

For women who have jobs that are physically active, they are often refused permission to take extra breaks or bring supplies like snacks or water bottles. In some cases, pregnant women have been refused special accommodations, like moving only lighter packages until the end of their pregnancies. In addition, statistics show that motherhood continues to impose a downward pressure on women's wages. This is the opposite of the effect of fatherhood on men's wages. While women's wages decline by 4 percent each time they have a child, men's earnings increase by 6 percent on average when they become fathers.

Wrongful termination case moves forward against bank

A complaint filed by a former California employee of Wells Fargo Bank has been reinstated by a federal appeals court after a divided ruling. The former employee filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the bank, arguing that she had been subject to discrimination and retaliation as well as violations of the California Family Rights Act. While she was on leave after giving birth to her child, she was fired from her position as a loan officer at the bank.

Earlier on, the U.S. District Court in Pasadena had granted summary judgment to the bank, dismissing the ex-employee's claims. However, a panel of a federal appeals court allowed her wrongful termination complaint to move forward. The bank had claimed that the employee was let go because of an overall market downturn and associated workforce reduction, presenting the court with a "business case" for her dismissal that was dated three days prior to her termination in October 2014.

Is equal pay protected under California law?

The struggle for closing the pay gap between men and women is an ongoing issue. Women consistently earn less than men for the same work, and it may seem that there are not any legal routes to solve this discrepancy.

In California, however, the law actually protects equal pay for men and women. The California Equal Pay Act is legislation that regulates this area of the workplace. Learn more about this particular law and how it may apply in your situation.

Workplaces are becoming friendlier to transgender employees

Finding work can be difficult for transgender people in California and around the country. About a quarter of the transgender people polled by the National Center for Transgender Equality in 2015 said that they had been denied work, passed over for promotion or fired because of their gender identity, but more recent research conducted by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation suggests that American workplaces are becoming more tolerant and welcoming to those who do not identify with the genders they were assigned at birth.

According to the nonprofit advocacy group, the number of Fortune 500 companies with policies in place to protect transgender workers from discrimination and harassment has risen to 85 percent. In 2012, only about half of America's biggest companies had such policies. Transgender workers are also more likely to be covered by health plans that pay for hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery. This kind of coverage was virtually nonexistent in the early 2000s according to the HRCF.

Prevalence of workplace discrimination

In California, experienced workers may be subject to a specialized work experienced targeting method where the upper limit on an employee's work history could be used for employment discrimination. The EEOC is examining the practice of using a person's work experience when used for the purpose of age discrimination.

The language used in job descriptions may be used to filter out protected groups; the terminology may have been used to discourage older workers or those who may not be a proper fit for a company's culture. Subjective criteria used to discourage certain applicants from applying may become the standard for identifying workplace discrimination practices.

Dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace

As the discussion of sexual harassment continues to dominate headlines, many California employees are still having to deal with uncomfortable situations on the job. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 72 percent of workers who experienced harassment on the job did not share their experiences with their employers. Of those who reported sexual harassment, nearly 54 percent report not confronting the offender.

The countless charges of sexual harassment involving Harvey Weinstein are still fresh on the minds of many Californians. It was only after dozens of women came forward sharing their experiences of sexual harassment that the New York Police Department moved forward with charges of rape, sex abuse, sexual misconduct, and criminal sex act against the media mogul.

Which industry has the most age discrimination?

Which industries come to mind when you think about age discrimination? Professions such as model or athlete probably come to mind. These jobs revolve around youth and are not reflective of regular occupations open to all types of people.

The sector that faces the most age discrimination is the tech industry, reports Business Insider. At first, you may think this makes sense because technology is ever-changing and the current generation is the most adept at working with technology. However, a study by Visier shows that there is more than meets the eye.

Tesla sued for alleged retaliation, race discrimination

Tesla is being sued by a former employee who claims he was wrongfully terminated from his position for reporting theft by a co-worker. He further claims that he was subjected to race discrimination. The California-based company has been sued multiple times for discrimination over the last year.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in Alameda Superior County Court on May 15, the plaintiff was employed as an Operations Associate Manager at Tesla's Fremont assembly plant until October 2017. The lawsuit claims he received good job performance reports until he told supervisors and the company's human resources department that another manager was stealing Tesla auto parts. After that, he received a negative and "misleading" job review, which eventually led to his firing.

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