According to the United Nations International Labor Organization, the economic crisis and the continued decline in working hours caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will impact 1.6 billion workers, or half the global workforce.
In the United States, employers are prohibited from harassing and/or discriminating against their employees by a variety of federal, state, and local laws. Exercising labor rights under any of these anti-harassment and anti-discrimination laws is considered “protected activity.” After engaging in protected activity in California, an employee is shielded from workplace retaliation by the Labor Code, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) and other whistleblower protection statutes.
America, and California in particular, has always been a place that believes in equality. However, individuals haven’t always practiced what they preach. The past several hundred years have been a long, uphill battle to help ensure everyone in the US is truly equal. In fact, August 26th was the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, when white women were officially granted the right to vote – a watershed moment for womens’ equality in the US.
Today, Thursday, August 13, is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. Why the 13th of August? Because it signifies the number of days into the year the average Black woman must work to equal her male colleagues’ pay from the previous year. In hard numbers, that means the average Black woman makes $0.62 for every $1.00 earned by men.
In response to hundreds of years of systemic racism, millions across the country are protesting. Many are protesting against police abuse and are calling for police defunding. While protesters are exercising their First Amendment rights to assemble and to free speech, it is important that you understand the difference in your rights under constitutional law and whether you have job-protected rights that stem from your protesting activity.
With COVID-19 leading to millions of layoffs and an economy in a downward spiral, some employers may be tempted to use the virus as an excuse to target particular groups of employees, hoping that their illegal actions will be masked by the current virus. If you or a loved one was recently laid off and you suspect it was because of a discriminatory reason, you may have a claim for illegal discrimination.