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Former aide settles lawsuit with California Senate

Working among California lawmakers doesn't necessarily protect people from being the victim of illegal workplace actions. Within the past decade, both houses of the California legislature have settled several sexual harassment suits with former employees for six-figure amounts.

A recent settlement (and one of the largest) involves a former legislative aide to a state senator from Fremont. The woman says she was fired after she reported a sexual assault by a staff member who worked in the Assembly.

You hate your job, but is it a hostile work environment?

At some point, most people hate their jobs. It may be the work itself that seems to drain the life out of them, or it may be the long hours, low pay or travel time that bring them to this point. Perhaps you are in a job now that you dislike, and you are wondering about your options.

It may be easy to label your work environment as hostile if you find it is a toxic place to be. Not getting along with your boss or your coworkers, or even having someone in the office who openly dislikes you may make it difficult to get up for work each morning. While it may be true that there is some hostility in your job, in order for you to have legal recourse, certain factors must exist.

Study shows numerous individuals fear disability discrimination

Many people in California and across the country have some kind of disability. You may have a disability yourself that you have worked to manage, possibly for your entire life. While your situation may mean that you accomplish tasks in different ways or in a different time span, you do not feel that your disability holds you back from being a capable employee.

Unfortunately, many people with disabilities face some type of discriminatory action while on the job. Some individuals may face significant discrimination if prospective employers do not hire them because of their conditions, or they may face more subtle discrimination if their coworkers constantly think they need help with tasks, for example.

Is your boss getting a free lunch?

When you were in school, you probably looked forward to lunch and recess more than any other part of the day. Even if you enjoyed your classes and your teachers, having a break at some point of the day gave you time to sit with your friends, refuel with some food and take a few minutes to relax.

The same is true for the workday. Even if you love your job, at some point, you may start to feel yourself getting irritable with customers and needing to step away from the counter, especially if you are working an eight or 10-hour shift. Fortunately, California law requires your employer to provide you with a break under certain circumstances. If you are unsure of the rules for employee meal breaks, you may be allowing your employer to deny you that right.

Do you know your rights in the workplace as a family caregiver?

If you're one of the millions of working Americans helping to care for a sick, disabled or elderly family member, it's essential to know what your rights and benefits are. Most people are familiar with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, many think it applies only to parents who need or want to take time off to care for a new baby.

In fact, the FMLA can be used to care for a spouse, parent or older child. However, it doesn't cover many other close family members. According to a report from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, over a third of family caregiving situations aren't covered by the FMLA.

Responding to sexual harassment in the workplace

Many people have the privilege of going into work without having to expect sexual harassment from colleagues. It can therefore be especially shocking for some people when the encounter does take place.

Among the many emotions that come with experiencing sexual harassment at work, you may also be confused about how to respond. Taking action against a colleague's inappropriate behavior poses many challenges. You want to stand up for yourself without risking your job or your safety in the office. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to report workplace sexual harassment professionally while ensuring your protection as much as possible:

Can you take FMLA for a child's birth if you're a dad?

Childrearing is not solely a woman's job. These days, parenting is a collaborative effort by two equal partners. Dads are just as involved and invested in their children's lives as moms.

Unfortunately, not every employer agrees. While many companies don't have a problem granting time off to a new mother, they may try to bar a new father from taking leave or convincing them not to take the full amount granted by law.

Detective accuses fellow officer of abuse, rape and revenge porn

Romantic relationships between colleagues can occur in just about any line of work -- including law enforcement. When they go bad, they can become a serious workplace issue. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is dealing with not only accusations of workplace impropriety but violations of the law.

A female detective with the department's Robbery-Homicide Division is accusing a senior lead officer of distributing nude pictures of her to others in the LAPD after she ended their relationship last August. She's also sought a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the officer, with whom she says she was romantically involved for five years.

New California laws take aim at sexual harassment

When the new year begins, California workers will have four new laws in place to help protect them from sexual harassment and help them take action if they have been the victims of harassment.

The author of two of pieces of legislation, State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara, says, "The MeToo movement dramatically and forcefully helped lift the veil of a rampant culture of sexual harassment and assault that has pervaded our workplace for far too long. Moving toward a harassment-free culture requires comprehensive policy and legal reforms that allow victims to seek justice."

Actress gets $9.5 in sexual harassment settlement with CBS

CBS's troubles with alleged bad behavior by powerful men at the network seem to continue. Earlier this year, its chief executive, Les Moonves, was ousted amid multiple accusations of sexual misconduct. Now it's come to light that the network paid $9.5 million to an actress who accused an actor who's been a longtime fixture on the network of inappropriate behavior. The case was settled via mediation and a confidential agreement. However, it became public amid a larger investigation into Moonves' alleged activities and the culture at the network, which has lost other powerful men accused of misconduct, including newsman Charlie Rose.

Actress Eliza Dushku was working as a guest star on the CBS series Bull, with the understanding that she would become a series regular, when the star, Michael Weatherly, allegedly began making sexually suggestive comments to her in front of others on the set -- including a joke about rape.

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