Los Angeles is a diverse city, but even though residents of all races and religions live here, folks continue to face harassment and discrimination on the basis of their race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation and gender. Unfortunately, discrimination and harassment is not something that only occurs on the streets; it also occurs in the workplace. The workplace should be a place where all hard-working employees are respected, but not all employers respect the rights of their employees.
When Los Angeles workers suffer a sudden illness or injury that requires them to take an extended period of time off of work to recover, workers may expect that their employers will be sensitive to their needs and understanding of any requests for time off.
Women in Los Angeles and Long Beach should not be forced to sacrifice their jobs or careers because they are pregnant or raising young children. If women want to continue working while also raising a family, that choice should be up to them, not their employer. Unfortunately, many employers still engage in discriminatory practices against women who are pregnant, and even Oprah Winfrey's OWN network is currently being accused of retaliation, sex discrimination and pregnancy discrimination.
Not all employees in California are entitled to overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours during the work week. For example, employees who receive a fixed salary do not typically receive overtime pay. However, not all employees are classified correctly by their employers, which means they may not be compensated properly by their employers when they do work overtime.
Los Angeles and Long Beach workers are probably already well aware of their basic rights in the workplace when it comes to sexual harassment. Workers have a right to file a complaint with their employers when a supervisor, colleague or other employee says or does anything that is sexually inappropriate. Workers also have a right to take legal action when employers fail to properly handle harassment complaints.
Two years ago, a group of 69 nurses filed a workplace discrimination lawsuit against the hospital they had worked at in California. The workers were all immigrants and they were all Filipino. Although some of the nurses had worked at the facility for more than 20 years, the Filipino nurses began to experience harassment and bullying after the hospital had implemented a new "language policy" in 2006. The policy banned workers from speaking any language other than English.
For nearly 20 years, a handyman and his wife were employed by William Shatner and his wife to perform household repairs, chores and other duties at the couple's home in California. However, when the handyman suffered a workplace injury at Shatner's home, he claims that Shatner and his wife began to harass him.
Two years ago, municipal officials in Bell were required to go public with their salaries. Shortly after their salaries were made public, corruption charges were filed and several of the highest paid city officials were fired from their jobs.
Some workplaces in Los Angeles are more laid back than others. But this does not mean that workers can act inappropriately toward their colleagues. All workers in all occupations have important rights, and all employers must make sure that these rights are properly protected.
No man or woman should ever have to be a victim of sexual harassment, especially in the workplace. In Los Angeles and throughout the entire state of California, employers are responsible for maintaining safe environments for their employees, and employers are also responsible for making sure that employees and supervisors receive proper training on workplace sexual harassment.