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California Employment Discrimination Blog

Retaliation against employees who refuse to do certain actions

People in California like anywhere else risk legal consequences when they break the law. This is true for individuals and for corporations and other legal entities. Despite the potential consequences, some people and entities may feel it is worth the risk and do it anyways. Often times, businesses that do this are trying to avoid extra costs or make more money. However, employees of the company may not want to partake in the illegal activity and report the violations to the appropriate authorities.

In past posts we have discussed whistleblower retaliation and that companies cannot retaliate against employees who do this or participate in an investigation once it starts. However, employers are also prohibited from retaliating against employees who either refuse to do certain activities or make certain requests, not just ones who actively report violations or participate in investigations.

Wrongful termination charges must be filed quickly

Most people in California are not very excited when they get terminated from a job. This is true whether people are terminated due to their own actions or inactions or whether it is completely out of their control such as a downturn in the company's business. Usually there is not much the person can do afterward except try to find a new job. However, in certain situations the reason for firing the person may be discriminatory and the person may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful termination claim.

Many times these claims start by filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). After the charge is filed, the EEOC will investigate the charge and determine if the employee was fired for discriminatory reasons. However, the employee must act relatively quickly to preserve their right to file the charge and ultimately their ability to file a lawsuit if they choose to do that.

Wells Fargo employee fired for planning to complain to regulators

Many people in California have their money in various banks. They rely on these banks to make sure their money is safe and well managed. Therefore, these banks are highly regulated to ensure that the banks are following the rules. However, some of these banks may take liberties with these regulations in order to make more money. It is important that regulators find out when they do and often times the best way for the regulators to find out is through the employees at the bank.

Employees who cooperate may be putting their job at risks though as the banks may retaliate against these employees. This is known as whistleblower retaliation and it is illegal. A former employee of Wells Fargo is alleging this was why he was recently fired and filed a lawsuit against the bank.

California’s new wage and hour laws in full effect

As many workers in the state of California are probably aware by now, the beginning of 2018 saw the implementation of a welcome rise in both the amount of minimum wage and by extension, the exempt salary threshold that employers are now required to pay their workers. So, what does this mean for employees throughout the state?

California's current and future plans for increasing the minimum wage

Calculating back pay you may be owed by your California employer

A recent investigation has many California workers expecting some back pay in the near future. The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) has completed an investigation where they have found many workers who were entitled to back pay for wages owed from previous employment. Workers who were affected can expect to receive a notification letter alerting them to upcoming back pay disbursement. 

 

Court rules that women's past salaries in determining new salary

Women in California, like the rest of the U.S., have historically earned less than men. This is despite the fact that the Equal Pay Act became a law decades ago, which requires employers to pay men and women the same if they do similar jobs. This practice is a form of sex discrimination. Employers who engage in this practice may be required to compensate the employees who are the victims of it.

However, employers may be able to use what may appear to be legitimate reasons to pay women less, but it really is just masking a violation of the Equal Pay Act. Recently the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals tried to eliminate one of the practices that employers may use to pay women less than men. They ruled that employers cannot use a woman's past salary when determining a woman's new salary. The Court stated that allowing employers to do this perpetuates the practice of paying women less and needs to stop.

Women face different forms of discrimination in the workplace

Most people in California are aware of the focus of the sexual harassment many women face in the workplace. This is something that many people are concerned about and trying to bring attention to it as a way of stopping it. However, this is not the only problems that women face in the workplace. Many women also face discrimination in the workplace as well. Sex discrimination is just as illegal and the victims may be entitled to compensation.

According to a recent survey, 42% of women say they have experienced discrimination in the workplace. They also reported experiencing this discrimination in many different forms. Women stated that they were paid less than men in similar positions, treated as if they were not competent, that they had been passed over for big assignments, would not receive the same support from supervisors, been slighted repeatedly and other forms of discrimination. Also, women with higher degrees reported more discrimination than those without a college degree.

Former Beverly Hills police employee claims wrongful termination

There are situations when people in California can say what they want and treat people poorly as long as they are not breaking the law. People may disagree with the person or find them offensive, but generally most speech is protected by the First Amendment. This is not true in all settings though. One of these situations is at the workplace. If people make offensive remarks about employees at work, there can be repercussions for their actions.

The Los Angeles police department is finding this fact out as there have been a number of lawsuits recently filed by police employees regarding the behavior of the Chief. Employees have accused the Chief of making offensive comments about another officer's religion and making other offensive remarks. Officers also claim that they had their roles in the department changed for the worse. In addition to these lawsuits one employee has also filed a wrongful termination lawsuit alleging that the Chief threatened him in an attempt to force him to retire.

Getting fired for sharing pay information with co-workers

It's something that many of us have experienced at some point in our working lives. On your first day of work at a new job, it's not uncommon to spend a little time filling out some necessary paperwork and going over some of the standard policies and expectations of your new employer. It's usually around this time, in the early days of your employment with any company, that you may also be informed of a policy that strongly discourages or prohibits employees from discussing the details of their personal wages, benefits or other compensation with each other. Doing so, you're informed, can result in disciplinary action - including being fired from your job.

Raising awareness about pay secrecy policies

Recent survey finds whistleblower retaliation is on the rise

There are many different rules and laws in California that govern many different situations in life. People are also constantly trying to circumvent them or break them to make life easier. This is no different in the workplace. Companies have to follow many different rules and regulations depending on the type of industry they work in and following them can require extra costs. So, in order to make more money or save money, many times companies try to circumvent these rules or outright break them.

According to a recent survey, fewer companies are doing this though. In 2017, 47% percent of the employees surveyed reported witnessing misconduct which was down from four years earlier when 51% reported witnessing misconduct. This misconduct could be a number of different things such as lying to stakeholders, accepting bribes, misusing confidential information, sexual harassment and others.

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