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California Employment Discrimination Blog

Basic procedure for starting a Qui Tam lawsuit

In order to prove criminal cases in California, the police or other authorities generally need tips and information from witnesses to the crime or who have received information about it. The authorities then use the information to pursue the case and prosecute the appropriate parties. The authorities cannot be everywhere at all times and need help from the public to do their job. This is true when companies violate various regulations as well. The proper authorities need inside information in order to build a case and hold the offending companies accountable for their actions.

The authorities need individuals within the company to report when violations occur. One common way of doing this is through a qui tam action initiated by an employee of the company. These whistleblower lawsuits can be very beneficial to the employee as well because often times, if successful, they are compensated with anywhere between 15 - 25% of the money recovered by the authorities.

Cable network accused of gender discrimination in new lawsuit

People in California have a right to free speech and saying offensive things in public is not necessarily a crime. However, one's first amendment rights do have limitations in certain private situations. One of these situations is in the workplace. People cannot make crude comments about people or even tell offensive jokes if they make others uncomfortable or are harassing in nature. These could be comments about sex, religion race and others and people need to be careful what they say.

If the comments are offensive to others in the workplace, those people may be able to file complaints. A vice president at Pop network recently filed a claim against the company for sex discrimination due in part to comments made by a superior about women in the office. She alleges that comments were made about certain women being "fat" and other comments that the company was only using women's looks to lure clients. There were also offensive comments made about female genitalia. In addition to the offensive remarks the women also alleges she was discriminated against because she was passed over for promotions and raises.

What constitutes a hostile work environment?

People in California have many different types of personalities. These personality traits usually dictate how the person deals with other people and how they handle certain situations. This is true for managers and supervisors in the workplace as well. As people are aware, different people manage different ways. Some are more aggressive than others as well. Many employees may feel intimidated by intense aggressive bosses and it may affect their work performance.

When people are in this type of workplace situation, they may feel that it is a hostile work environment, but legally that may not be true. Under the law, in order for workplace environment to be hostile, the harassment must be directed at people who are in protected classes. So, the employee must be treated differently because of their sex, religion, race, age, disability and other protected classes.

California Legislative staff finally has whistleblower protection

Employees in California have certain protections in the workplace. Most of these protections are to prevent employers from discriminating against workers in protected classes such as their sex, age, race, sexual orientation, religion, disability and others. However, many employees also have whistleblower retaliation protections as well.

This means that if the employee reports violations of the law to authorities, the employer cannot punish the employee for doing so. These protections also apply to situations when people file complaints against supervisors for sexual harassment or other types of discrimination. They also cannot retaliate against employees who participate in any investigations into these complaints.

The wage gap between men and woman is still a problem

There are many things in California society that change over time, but somethings can take longer than others to completely change. For a long time white males dominated most power positions in business as well as other areas of society. Over time this has slowly changed and men of different ethnicities and women have made some gains in being able to get into these positions. However, statistics show that as a society these groups still lag behind.

One area where women in particular continue to lag behind is the wage gap. Historically women have earned less than men and that trend seems to continue. In California, women who work full-time jobs earn approximately $7,227 less each year than men who have full-time jobs. This equates to approximately $.86 for every dollar men make. Statistics show that this wage gap is also present across different industries, occupations and education levels. The wage gap is even greater for women of different ethnicities.

Most common EEOC charges in California in 2017

Most people in California are at-will employees and are somewhat at the whim of their employer in terms of their employment status, but do have some protections. Employers generally make decisions based on what is best for their business and therefore keep good employees regardless of their age, sex, race and other factors. However, people in management just like anyone else could have biases and base decisions on these biases as opposed to basing the decision on work performance.

If the worker is wrongfully terminated because of this or discriminated against in some other fashion, then they may be able to file a charge with the EEOC to protect their rights. Recently the EEOC released the statistics relating to the number and type of charges it received in the 2017 fiscal year.

Blurring the lines between employees and independent contractors

While working as an independent contractor may not offer the same benefits as working as an employee, there are plenty of advantages it does offer such as the ability to set your own hours and, in a way, work as your own boss. 

Hiring independent contractors offers plenty of advantages to businesses as well. However, it's when businesses try to achieve the "best of both worlds" by treating their independent contractors as employees that problems arise. 

Workers can refuse to do dangerous work

There are many safety regulations in California to keep the workers safe while performing job tasks. Some jobs do require people to perform more dangerous tasks than others though and others expose workers to dangerous chemicals or noises. However, there must be appropriate safety equipment available for the workers to keep them safe while performing these tasks.

For many different reasons though, employers do not always have this safety equipment available for every dangerous situation. However, they may still need a certain tasks done and still ask employees to complete the tasks. Despite this workers do still have a right to stay safe and can refuse to do the tasks if certain conditions are met.

Ford to settle harassment, retaliation claims for $10 million

Ford Motor Company has agreed to settle EEOC harassment and retaliation claims for $10.125 million. It has also agreed to a plan for training and monitoring overseen by the federal agency.

The allegations involve both sexual and racial harassment complaints at two Chicago-area Ford plants. A class of female and African-American employees complained of the discrimination, and the EEOC determined it was likely some were retaliated against when they complained about it. Both harassment and retaliation of this type violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Process for filing sexual harassment complaint in California

There many things that annoy people while at work. It could be an over bearing boss or a co-worker who bothers one throughout the day. It could also be certain policies that the employee does not like. However, there are some things that go beyond simply being annoying. Sometimes certain actions fall into the category of harassment. One type of harassment that is very common is sexual harassment.

There are many different types of behavior that could be considered sexual harassment and all forms are unacceptable. The victim should first inform supervisors and file complaints within the company, but sometimes these efforts do not fix the problem and the person may need to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

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