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Long Beach Employment Law Blog

How to know if your termination was legal

It is easy to take it personally when you lose your job. In fact, it is common for workers to become depressed or anxious after a termination because they begin to wonder if there is something wrong with them. However, California, like many other states, has at-will employment, which means your employer can let you go at any time without giving you a reason.

There are limits to this law, though. Your employer may have a reason to fire you, but if that reason is unlawful, you can take action to protect your rights and seek justice for your wrongful termination.

Can you work without getting paid?

When you're on the job, you should be paid for every second that you're working. There is no such thing as a "free lunch," for you or your employer, so there's no reason not to get paid when you work.

An employee who chooses to stay late should still be paid, even if the employer does not want to do so. In the future, the employer might limit the employee's hours, but they can't ignore that the employee did do work.

Is sexual harassment also a criminal act?

The victims of sexual harassment at work suffer more than anyone realizes -- unless they too have been hurt by such unconscionable behavior. The severity of damage caused by sexual harassment certainly begs the question: Why don't sexual harassers usually go to jail? And, is sexual harassment ever a criminal act?

Victims of sexual harassment can pursue justice and financial restitution in court against their harassers and their employers. Nevertheless, the act of sexual harassment is not a crime unless it involves physical intimidation, unwanted touching or extreme coercion. If sexual harassment doesn't involve these types of "assault" behaviors, then it will fall under the category of civil law.

The FEHA, employer obligations and the rights of employees

As a California employee, you understand the importance of knowing about your rights and protecting your interests. One of the things you may need to know about is the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. This is an act intended to protect various types of employees from experiencing discrimination or harassment in any aspect of their jobs.

Both state and federal laws protect the interests of workers. In this case, the FEHA requires that employers investigate all instances and allegations of discrimination and harassment promptly and efficiently. If there is basis to the claim, the employer must appropriately discipline the violating party. Under the FEHA, employers must also provide reasonable accommodations for disabled employees.

California's new sexual harassment rules relating to settlements

Under the current laws, employees and employers have been able to negotiate settlement agreements over sexual harassment claims. These settlement agreements have traditionally contained nondisclosure provisions that prevented either of the parties from talking about the sexual harassment allegations and the amount of money for which the cases settled. However, on Jan. 1, 2019, Senate Bill No. 820 will change this in the state of California.

The new bill prevents both private and public employers from creating settlement agreements with nondisclosure clauses that pertain to:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual discrimination
  • Failure to stop sexual discrimination and harassment
  • Retaliation for reporting sexual harassment and discrimination

Did your workers' comp claim get you fired?

Most employers in California and across the country are required to provide workers' compensation coverage to their employees. In the event you suffer a work injury, this means you should be able to obtain medical treatment and wage loss benefits. Unfortunately, some people find themselves let go from their places of employment soon after submitting workers' comp claims. Is this coincidence or retaliation?

If you think that you're the victim of wrongful termination, you may be able to do something about it. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your firing, the law may be on your side, meaning you may be able to seek compensation if you can successfully prove your claim. When it comes to firing for workers' compensation filing retaliation, proving it may be somewhat tricky.

3 types of job discrimination not based on gender or race

No matter what your external appearance looks like – black, white, Asian, Latino, male or female – you've probably experienced some form of discrimination in life. Perhaps that discrimination was as simple as someone not wanting to be your friend because of the color of your skin. Or, maybe you were denied a job opportunity because you were a woman seeking a job in a male-dominated industry. Whatever happened regarding your discriminatory event, it probably didn't feel good.

When this kind of discrimination happens on the job, it doesn't just feel bad, but it also hurts you financially and it can ruin your career trajectory. Most people know that they are protected under federal law from this kind of on-the-job discrimination as it relates to gender and race, but the following types of discrimination are also unlawful:

Identifying retaliation may require paying attention over time

When people talk about retaliation in the workplace, they give the impression that it is always right out there in your face, so to speak. However, that isn't always the case.

In fact, in many instances, the retaliation may not be quite so obvious. It may take some time before you realize that something is not right.

Employment law categories: Do you know the basics?

Employment law covers the relationships that exist between employees and employers. This area of the law is vital to ensure that employees receive appropriate treatment and are not unfairly exploited by their employers -- as frequently happens when employers are left unchecked. Here is a brief review of some basic employment law vocabulary from the perspective the key areas covered by this legal topic:

Breach of employment contracts: Employees and employers often enter into a formally written or oral contract at the onset of the employment. As long as this contract is lawfully constructed and the provisions are legitimate, both sides of the contract must adhere to its terms or face legal ramifications.

How do employers calculate if I have more sick leave remaining?

The federal Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) act gives many employees the right to take unpaid time off without fear of losing their employment in the event that they become ill, a family member becomes ill, they or someone in their immediate family becomes pregnant, or a new baby or adopted child is coming into their family. Each person who can qualify for time off under the FMLA will need to satisfy other requirements as well, one of which is that they have not already taken 12 weeks of FMLA leave within a given calendar period.

Calculating whether an employee has taken 12 weeks off within a 12-month period may not be entirely straightforward. Here are four methods that employers can use to calculate this period according to the FMLA:

  • Some employers simply use the calendar year to determine if an employee has already exhausted his or her FMLA leave.
  • Other employers use a fixed leave year based on any particular date, such as the date the employee began working at the company or the fiscal year.
  • Other employers begin calculating FMLA leave on the date of the first day of medical leave that the employee takes.

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