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.
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.
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.
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.
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.