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Long Beach Employment Law Blog

Fatal crane accident and workers' compensation death benefits

California workers have the right to expect a certain standard of safety in their workplaces. This means that they have the right to expect their employers to ensure that dangerous incidents do not repeat themselves. There was a recent fatal accident involving a California crane company with a history of safety issues, leaving one grieving family wondering if they are eligible for death benefits through a workers' compensation claim.

A crane operated by this company collapsed while it was not in operation, leaving one person dead. Bigge Crane and Rigging Co. has a history of penalties and citations from various state and federal organizations for failing to keep workers safe. The crane collapsed during a storm, but due to the fatality, the incident is still under investigation. 

Sexual harassment allegations against popular fast-food chain

McDonald's is one of the most popular restaurants in the United States, but the well-known chain is currently facing allegations of inappropriate behavior in several of its restaurant locations. The company is currently facing 25 charges related to the occurrence of sexual harassment reported by workers. These charges involve incidents that took place in corporate offices and locations in 20 different cities across the United States. 

California workers have the right to a workplace that is free from inappropriate treatment, including sexual harassment. Like the McDonald's workers who reported wrongdoing in their place of work, each person has the right to speak up when they experience mistreatment at the hands of co-workers, managers and others. No one has to endure this type of treatment in silence. 

Are you getting pay for all the work you do?

Whether you clock in, log in or submit a time sheet, if your boss pays you by the hour, you know that minutes mean money. You may even have to wait until a certain time to clock in to avoid earning pay for the extra quarter hour. Your boss may reprimand you if you stay on the clock past your scheduled time. This is because those minutes count toward the total time you work for the week, which brings you closer to overtime pay.

Hourly pay also means you do not get credit for hours you are off the clock. A shrewd employer may find ways to get work from you without paying you, but you may also be willingly, and illegally, giving your time away.

Smoke from wildfires and workers' compensation

California firefighters and other types of emergency responders face various risks and threats when fighting fires, especially wildfires. In 2018 alone, millions of acres burned in California, and the men and women who are called to fight these types of outbreaks deserve as much safety as reasonably possible when they go to work. This includes having access to necessary safety equipment. Keeping workers safe means fewer workers' compensation claims for smoke-related illnesses.

A new bill recently passed in California's State Assembly that would require employers to provide respirators to firefighters who are fighting wildfires. There are some who believe that this type of respiratory protection is only the first step. Currently, there is proposed legislation from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health that would provide additional protections for both indoor and outdoor workers.

Workers' compensation and workplace accident trends

Most California employees have the right to seek compensation and support in the event they suffer injuries in a workplace accident. Through a workers' compensation claim, injured workers can get the help they need to get better and move forward. Across the country, fewer work accidents are being reported, which means the number of these claims is down as well.

Experts believed that changes in the workforce would bring about an increased frequency of workplace accidents. So far, that has not been true. Due to a strong economy and a lower rate of unemployment, there are more people working, and there are more older workers as well. Both of these factors could make workplace accidents more frequent, but statistics indicate that overall, the rate of these types of incidents is declining.

Seeking reasonable accommodations on the job

You have the education, training and experience to qualify you for the job. However, you also have a disability. Whether you have lived all your life with your condition or recently suffered an accident or illness, you still have rights in the workplace.

California and federal laws prohibit an employer from discriminating against you because of your disability. If you have every qualification for the job, but may need your employer to make some reasonable allowances for you, you have the right to request an accommodation.

How can you file a formal complaint at work?

Some people may feel as if they are no stranger to mistreatment. They may have grown up in difficult family situations or experienced bullying throughout their school years. You may have been among the many who looked forward to adulthood so that you could build a life of your own away from such negative environments.

Unfortunately, landing your dream job may not have had the effect you desired. In fact, a manager, a supervisor or your co-workers may have started mistreating you in various ways. Your employer may have passed you over for promotion for unfair reasons, like your race or gender, or your co-workers may have subjected you to harassing actions. Now, you likely wonder what to do about this wrongdoing.

Should workers' compensation cover mental trauma?

When a California worker suffers an injury on the job, he or she could be eligible for certain benefits. Through a claim filed through the employer's workers' compensation insurance policy, a worker may be able to secure benefits necessary to cover medical bills, a portion of lost wages and more. However, there are some who believe these benefits should also extend to individuals suffering from mental trauma from work. 

Some types of jobs, particularly those that expose employees to high-risk and high stress situations, can result in mental struggles. Post-traumatic stress disorder is more common with people who work as fightfighters, law enforcement and more. Many people think individuals suffering from these types of issues should be able to get workers' compensation benefits, providing them with support and time to recover. 

Is your employer discriminating against your religious beliefs?

Like many in California and elsewhere, your religious beliefs are important to you. While the practice of your faith may be a private matter, your beliefs may direct the choices you make in your daily life. Your religion is not something you turn off when you go to work, and while you may not openly preach your faith in the workplace, your beliefs may be obvious in your attire, your manners or your actions.

Despite laws protecting you from mistreatment based on your religious beliefs, you may still experience discrimination in the workplace. Religion is one of the classes protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and understanding what religious discrimination may look like may help you recognize if you are a victim of this violation of your rights.

Workplace discrimination because of hairstyle? It's possible

A California lawmaker recently proposed a bill that would provide protections for individuals who wear certain hairstyles in the workplace, primarily African Americans. If passed, the bill would prevent employers from implementing policies about acceptable hairstyles that many claim are a form of workplace discrimination. There are already federal laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace for people who wear afros, but the law does not currently extend to other hairstyles.

This bill proposes changes to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, extending protections to individuals who have protective hairstyles besides afros. Employers would no longer be able to enforce polices that may be discriminatory against individuals who wear braids, twists and locs. Current polices enforced by many employers are thought to unfairly impact people of color.

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