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Long Beach Employment Law Blog

New laws will impact California workplace discrimination claims

When a person experiences unfair treatment in the workplace, it is that worker's right to speak out and take legal action. In many cases, this involves speaking out about experiencing workplace discrimination. While anyone who experiences this in the workplace can take legal action, there is a limited amount of time to do so. Thanks to new California laws that will come into effect in January, this timeframe will be longer.

Up until this point, a person only had one year to report workplace discrimination and file a claim with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Under the new law, called the SHARE Act, an employee now has up to three years to do so. The federal discrimination laws still gives federal employees 180 days to report mistreatment in their places of work.

Has mistreatment at work caused you to suspect discrimination?

Being employed is an important aspect of most California residents' lives. You may have had to search long and hard before you found a position that fit your skills, and you may have felt elated when you landed the job. However, after some time in your position, you may have begun to feel as if something was not right.

At first, you may have heard co-workers, or even your employer, make inappropriate remarks in the workplace. In some cases, people may have directed those remarks at you or at your expense. You may have ignored the behavior at first, but as it continued or even got worse, your work and well-being may have begun to suffer.

Sexual harassment prevalent among female attorneys

Every California employee has the right to a workplace that is free from degrading and inappropriate treatment from employers and co-workers. Sexual harassment is an unfortunate problem in many different types of workplaces, and the legal field is no exception. Statistics indicate that as many as 54% of female attorneys experienced sexual harassment at some point in their careers. 

A recent study found that not only do many female lawyers experience sexual harassment at work, around 63% of them experience bullying at work as well. This treatment has led to many women leaving the legal profession in pursuit of work in a less hostile and intimidating environment. Despite the prevalence of harassment incidents, estimates suggest only around one-quarter of them are reported.

4 types of harassment you could face in the workplace

Many California residents start their jobs looking forward to the experience and new opportunities they will gain. You may have landed a job that you thought would bring you challenges and enjoyment, but what you may not have expected was mistreatment in the workplace.

Unfortunately, workplace harassment is a serious issue that can affect workers who have been in the same job for years or who may have just started a new position. It can come about for a number of reasons, and the effects can be detrimental to you as a victim. Still, before reporting any incidents, you may wonder whether what you are facing is actually harassment.

Workers' compensation for occupational hearing loss

California workers have the right to a reasonable expectation of safety, regardless of the nature of a specific job. This includes protections against noise levels that could eventually lead to occupational hearing loss. This is a more prevalent problem than many realize, and it could actually be grounds to pursue benefits through a workers' compensation claim.

According to the results of a recent study, around 600 million people face exposure to dangerous levels of noise at work. In fact, noise is one of the most common and most serious occupational hazards. Over time, certain levels of regular noise exposure can lead to hearing loss of varying degrees. Scientists have also found that noise may actually lead to an increased chance of high blood pressure. It may also impact digestive health.

Workers' compensation for wildfire smoke inhalation

In California, an important concern for certain types of workers is smoke inhalation due to wildfires and poor air quality. If a person becomes will due to his or her job, it could be legitimate grounds to pursue workers' compensation benefits. While employers can take certain steps to keep workers' reasonably safe, it is possible that a worker could deal with respiratory issues as a result of exposure. In this specific type of situation, a person can move forward with a claim.

When air quality issues threaten the safety of workers, there are certain things employers can do. One of the most important steps is to remain vigilant and continue checking the Air Quality Index. When the number is over 151, it means there are particles in the air that can be dangerous. Employers have to communicate this risk to their employees.

Understanding your right to a fair wage and overtime

Do you earn an hourly wage? Unless you receive a salary, you are probably punching a time clock or logging into a computer at the start of your shift. However, did you know there are laws that require your employer to pay you fairly?

Are you certain your employer is paying you what you deserve? Unless you know your rights and understand the basics of the Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal law that protects your right to a fair wage, you may not recognize when your employer is taking advantage of you.

Sexual harassment is a continuing issue in the medical field

Women are often subjected to unfair and inappropriate treatment in the workplace. This is true in almost any type of job, including the medical field. In fact, sexual harassment in the medical field may be much more common than many realize. Female doctors, nurses and other types of health care professionals may have to deal with inappropriate comments and unwanted contact from patients and even their own coworkers.

California female doctors have to treat and examine patients who may be sexually aggressive and verbally harassing. There are instances of patients exposing themselves, forcing a doctor's hand to touch them, making grossly inappropriate comments and even threatening sexual violence. Despite these things, women still strive to remain professional and provide appropriate care.

Discrimination protections for LGBTQ workers extends to restrooms

It may seem like an odd topic, but it has gained a significant amount of attention in recent years. Members of the LGBTQ community who do not identify with their "biological sex" feel they should have the opportunity to use either restroom or one designated as neutral.

If you fall into this category, then you may be pleased to know that the state of California provides you with certain protections as it applies to restroom use.

Company accused of poorly handling sexual harassment claims

When a worker experiences inappropriate or illegal treatment in the workplace, he or she has the right to report this to the employer. At this point, it would be reasonable to assume that the employer is doing something about it, including appropriate disciplinary action against the offending party. One California employer is facing accusations of mishandling sexual harassment claims, failing to recognize the serious nature of these allegations and minimizing employee concerns.

One girl recently spoke out about her experience while working for a Vons supermarket when she was 16 years old. She worked as a clerk for the store, and within the first few weeks of her time of employment, she began experiencing inappropriate treatment from her supervisor. He asked her inappropriately personal questions and eventually began asking her to smoke marijuana with him on breaks. She says he began coming to her home and acting aggressively toward her. 

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