Calabasas Employment Law Blog

What can I do about sexual harassment in my workplace?

Sexual harassment can impact the victim's job performance and daily life in a detrimental way which is why victims of sexual harassment in the workplace should be familiar with their options. Victims should also ensure that their questions are answered so they can protect their rights in the workplace and understand that they do not have to suffer sexual harassment.

The first step in some sexual harassment circumstances may be to speak up and it is also important to follow whatever steps are outlined in the employer's procedure for handling sexual harassment in the workplace and addressing sexual harassment concerns. If the employer does not have a procedure in place for dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace, the employee should bring a complaint and ensure the employer is aware of the sexual harassment.

Protections for workers from wage and hour violations

Unfortunately, there are many employers in California that do not comply with California's wage and hour laws. Employers are generally required to pay employees the applicable minimum wage for all of the hours they work and comply with all applicable laws regarding working conditions.

Workers and families rely on the wages they work hard for each day so it is important that they receive compensation they have earned. A sampling of some of the wage and hour violations workers may be owed for include compensation for time in between jobs if they were paid by the job or piece; time the worker was unable to earn commission such as during opening, closing or meetings if they are paid on compensation; all overtime hours worked and overtime rates of pay; time when a worker was told to wait to clock in; and for time when a worker was sent home from their scheduled shift.

When should you receive overtime pay from your employer?

Far too many workers don't really understand their rights under both California state law and federal law. Employees may not understand when they should receive breaks or what protections they have from discrimination and harassment at work. In fact, many people don't even fully understand the nuances of when they should receive overtime pay from their employer.

If you aren't familiar with the laws about overtime pay, you won't understand when your employer violates your rights. Anyone who works an hourly job could potentially earn overtime pay during any given pay period. Understanding your rights as a worker is a critical first step in the process of standing up for yourself.

Workplace discrimination basics for employers and employees

Both employees and employers should understand the basics of workplace discrimination, what is not allowed in the workplace and how to prevent it from taking place. Additionally, employees should understand that they are protected from workplace discrimination and have important legal rights to not be discriminated against at work that they should be familiar with.

In general, workplace discrimination is prohibited in the workplace based on race, color, gender, national origin, citizenship, religion, disability, age and pregnancy. In some states, additional protections are provided based on sexual orientation, marital status and weight. Whether or not workplace discrimination prohibitions apply to a particular employer largely depends on the number of workers they employ so it is helpful to be familiar with those standards.

California strengthens protections for sexual harassment victims

Sexual harassment laws were recently strengthened in California and will provide greater protections for victims. The changes will also provide greater protections against some forms of retaliation in the workplace. As part of the new sexual harassment laws, victims can now sue for a single incident of sexual harassment.

Previously, for sexual harassment to be actionable, it had to fall into one of two categories. One of those categories required the harassment to be severe or pervasive, which usually required a pattern of harassment to be established before a victim could bring a claim. The other type of sexual harassment is referred to as quid pro quo harassment.

Help for victims of the different forms of sexual harassment

There are different types of sexual harassment and it is important to be familiar with each and what to do if you are facing sexual harassment or abuse in the workplace. The reality is that sexual harassment occurs everyday and in the every industry and victims are protected against it.

Sexual harassment can impact the victim's ability to perform their job successfully but can also take a toll on the victim both emotionally and psychologically and, as a result, can impact the victim's professional and personal lives. The detrimental impact of sexual harassment can be devastating for victims which is why they should be familiar with the legal resources and remedies available to them.

The importance of protecting fair wages

Ensuring that workers receive the wages they have earned is important. Because state and federal wage laws can be complex, it is also important for workers to understand how to protect their rights.

Because wages are an understandably high priority for workers, it is essential for them to understand wage and hour laws and what to do in circumstances of wage and hour violations. Federal and state laws set minimum wages; states can have their own minimum wages but it cannot fall below the federal minimum wage. The same laws also identify when a worker is entitled to receive overtime pay for working long hours. Hours worked in excess of 40 hours a week usually qualify for overtime pay.

Did you know that you deserve a meal break at work?

Every day, your employer asks you to work through your lunch break. Some of the time, it is very obvious: Your boss tells you there is too much to do and you need to eat at your desk. On other days, he or she implies it, perhaps by saying that dedicated employees will find ways to get more done throughout the day.

Either way, you cannot remember the last time you actually took time off for lunch. You know the rest of the workers in your office feel the same way. People complain about it, but it is just part of the company culture. This is a highly competitive field. People make sacrifices.

Workers in California protected from sexual harassment

Sexual harassment does not have to be tolerated in the workplace and California laws protect workers from it. To better understand their rights, workers should be familiar with what sexual harassment is and what types of behaviors it includes.

According to state laws, sexual harassment includes unwanted sexual behavior, including unwanted sexual advances or any physical, verbal or visual conduct that is sexual in nature. The definition of sexual harassment in California is broad enough to include many forms of offensive behavior. It can also refer to instances of harassment when the victim and harasser are of the same sex. A variety of different behaviors are prohibited that would create a hostile work environment or suggest quid pro quo related to sexual favors.

Protections for wrongfully terminated employees

It is important for workers to understand that there are reasons for terminating their employment that may be considered illegal. Workers have important legal protections against this type of prohibited activity that they should be familiar with and understand. To protect their rights, they must be aware of what they are.

Examples of potential wrongful termination include terminating an employee for reporting misappropriation of public funds; terminating an employee for refusing to commit fraud such as Medicare fraud; terminating an employee for refusing to violate the law; terminating an employee for protesting illegal or unsafe working conditions; terminating an employee for demanding appropriate overtime compensation; termination an employee for refusing to engage in retaliation or discrimination; or terminating an employee for reporting workplace discrimination, harassment or retaliation.

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