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Los Angeles Employment Law Blog

Family and Medical Leave Act: Determining eligibility

Sometimes, life events, such as an injury or the need to take care of an immediate family member, may force full-time employees in California to take an extended amount of time off from work. Fortunately, options are available to qualified employees that could protect their employment during such events. In 1993, the federal government enacted the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This law allows eligible and qualified employees up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave.

There are four basic scenarios that would qualify an employee for FMLA leave. The most common scenario is when an employee is seriously injured or has a health condition that prevents the worker from being able to perform essential job duties. Other FMLA-qualifying events include being called to active military duty, the birth or placement of a child and the need to care for a spouse or immediate family member.

Retaliation at work is not only wrong, but illegal

Most people would agree that lying is never a good thing. In some cases, lying at work is enough to warrant termination in the state of California. But what if a manager asks an employee to lie about a situation, then fires the employee in retaliation for refusing to lie? This is allegedly what happened to an employee in another state and she filed a lawsuit.

The woman worked for an out-of-state university and was allegedly asked to lie about the role of another employee. According to the lawsuit, the employee was an immigrant working at the university through a North American Free Trade Agreement program that allowed temporary work visas. However, the lawsuit said that the employee was in a permanent managerial role that was restricted by the program.

Men can also face gender discrimination

Discriminatory acts, although wrong, are still quite common in California workplaces, despite significant advancements made in modern society. There's no doubt that discrimination can cause extreme psychological and emotional trauma in victims. Treating a person differently just because of race, gender or age is a denial of basic human rights and completely dehumanizing. A recent lawsuit filed by a man in another state portrays allegations of disturbing acts of harassment as well as gender and age discrimination.

The man worked as a labor analyst for a cruise line. According to the lawsuit, he was harassed by his female manager and forced to work in a toxic environment. The man claims he was constantly passed over for promotions in favor of younger workers, despite being more qualified. Allegedly, his manager also ridiculed the man about his age in front of co-workers.

Statistics show more employees are facing retaliation

Reporting illegal activity is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, too many workers in California face retaliation at work for reporting misconduct or illegal acts. According to recent statistics, the number of employees who have faced retaliation for reporting misconduct has nearly doubled in the last five years. Although conduct by employers has improved somewhat, there is still cause for concern.

A former elementary school principal in another state claims that she was fired in retaliation, and she has filed a lawsuit. Allegedly, the woman was fired for threatening to expose illegal activities and misconduct. According to the lawsuit, the woman was stabbed and punched by a student on two separate occasions. The woman claimed that the incidents were the result of the school district dangerously understaffing the emotional disorder programs.

Subtle forms of racial discrimination at work

With race currently a hot topic in America, more victims of racism are speaking out about their experiences. As a result, more people are being careful of what they do and say to avoid being racist, including in the workplace. While this is an appropriate response that will lead to positive changes, lesser forms of racism will take longer to disappear.

Most people are aware of blatantly racist behaviors, such as using derogatory terms or harassing someone. However, awareness of less noticeable actions is not as high, and therefore, they still happen, even by people who think they are inclusive. Watch out for these subtle clues that you may be suffering racial discrimination at work.

Class action suit filed after alleged wage-and-hour violations

Employment laws were established to protect workers from unfair acts and to ensure that all employees are correctly paid for the work they provide. Without wage-and-hour laws, there would be no legal way to hold California employers responsible for taking advantage of workers. Under these laws, employers are required to pay fair wages, overtime and reimbursement. Employees of a restaurant in another state have filed a lawsuit after the restaurant allegedly violated several wage-and-hour laws.

The plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit, three former employees, seek to represent over 250 employees that worked for the defendant over the last three years. The lawsuit alleges that the defendant did not pay overtime or minimum wages. According to the claim, the restaurant owners frequently required hourly employees to work after clocking out.

Pregnancy discrimination is happening more and more

Although great strides have been made for equality, prejudice and social injustice still exist. A common form of discrimination occurring in California workplaces these days is pregnancy pregnancy discrimination. Highlighting an alarming trend, almost 3,200 cases citing pregnancy discrimination were filed last year with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Pregnant workers in the United States are protected by the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

An amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against an employee based on pregnancy, childbirth or other pregnancy-related medical conditions. Several things fall under the law's realm of protection. Under the law, an employer cannot deny a woman employment due to pregnancy or conditions related to pregnancy.

Unethical acts may go unreported due to the fear of retaliation

When an employee witnesses an illegal act in the workplace, he or she should do the right thing and report it. Unfortunately, employees may fear retaliation, and thus illegal or inappropriate actions can go unreported. However, many California workers may be unaware that they are protected by state Whistleblower Protection laws. Whistleblowing employees who face retaliatory acts can file a complaint and may be able to pursue legal action.

A former employee of the city of Adelanto recently filed a lawsuit over claims that he was retaliated against and fired for blowing the whistle on city officials. The man worked as an IT supervisor for the city. According to the lawsuit, an FBI investigation was conducted against several city officials. The plaintiff said he cooperated with the investigation and sent the FBI electronic documents that were requested.

Losing a job to retaliation can be devastating

In modern-day American, securing a stable job is the cornerstone of living a productive and fulfilled life. Having a job taken away as the result of retaliation is something that can psychologically and financially scar a person for the rest of his or her life. It can be tough to recover from something as catastrophic as this, but California workers should know that established employment laws offer protection from harassment and retaliation.

A woman in another state filed a wrongful termination lawsuit over claims that she was retaliated against after filing a complaint against her boss. The lawsuit said the woman hired for the position of vice president of business development but later transferred to a new position. According to claims, her new supervisor harassed her due to her age and gender.

How to emotionally handle a wrongful termination

Many people successfully sue former employers for wrongful termination. In one recent case, a Catholic school teacher in Los Angeles sued her employer for firing her for becoming pregnant and won $3 million. 

When you know an employer fired you wrongfully, it can be an emotionally-distressing time. There are legal actions you can take, but you may have emotional problems during this time. As you pursue your case, it is vital to keep the following points in mind. 

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