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San Fernando Valley Employment Law Blog

California rules that the ADA protects obese people

You're probably aware that the United States created a series of civil rights laws to protect individuals from discrimination based on certain characteristics, such as age, religion or ethnicity. Included on this list of protected traits is disability--and the law describing this protection is laid out in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is a federal law that went into effect in 1990 to help ensure that individuals with disabilities receive the same rights and opportunities as other people in the workplace, school and all areas related to their public lives.

But what exactly constitutes a disability? A recent case in California asks the question: can obesity be considered a disability? Does being obese qualify you for protections under the ADA?

Ready to blow the whistle on corruption at your job?

In order to keep our country safer from terrorists, the Department of Homeland Security has an ongoing campaign called, "If you see something, say something." Encouraging Americans to report suspicious activities that could lead to widespread destruction makes good sense and could save lives.

In the workplace, when employees see egregious safety lapses or are forced to adhere to policies that skirt the law, if they report these instances, e.g., become whistleblowers, they often are ostracized by management and/or coworkers, subjected to retaliation and may even lose their jobs.

Pregnancy protections in your workplace

You were more than excited to share the news with your colleagues that you were going to have a baby. Most people responded positively, some even suggested a baby shower at work. The people who weren't happy, though, were those in charge.

You couldn't understand why they were so unhappy about your pregnancy. You've been with the company for years, and you're always on time and do good work. Now, you've noticed that they're giving you fewer and fewer assignments while acting like everything you turn in isn't good enough. It feels like you might end up terminated from your position. 

Do Employers Have to Give Notice of Temporary Layoffs?

California's Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, more commonly known as WARN, provides protection to employees, their families and even communities by requiring employers to notice before a plant closing or mass layoff. Notice is to be provided 60 days in advance of a plant closing or mass layoff.

#MeToo - The Legal Doctrine

Before Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo hashtag gave way to a rising tide of sexual harassment victims coming forward with their stories, the "me too" phrase was coined in a legal case called Pantoja v. Anton. In Pantoja v. Anton, the stories of other victims of sexual harassment by the same harasser were excluded from evidence by the trial court, which found them irrelevant. Fortunately, the Court of Appeal reversed in a significant legal ruling.

Human resources professionals need to stop covering up sexual harassment

As someone who fights on behalf of employees whose civil rights have been violated, it's important for me to be well versed in human resources. This way I know when a human resources professional has failed to do his or her job. I joined the largest professional human resources membership association in the United States, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), for this very purpose. (Yes, to spy on the enemy.) One area where human resource professionals need to step it up is to acknowledge when an employee has been wronged, rather than just supporting management and denying the problem.

California Fair Pay Act - Equal Pay for All Genders and Races

Designed to close the gap in pay between what California men and women are paid in similar jobs, the amended California Fair Pay Act (CFPA) went into effect on January 1, 2016. Unlike some employment laws, the Fair Pay Act applies to employers of any size.

Are they writing you up so they can fire you? Is that illegal?

If you are a long term employee with a stellar performance record it might come as a shock if all of the sudden you were being written-up for trivial offenses. Maybe the write-ups were for things that never got you written-up before or maybe they were for things that weren't even true. You might suspect that your employer is laying the groundwork for your termination and wonder if there is anything that you can do.

Wrongful Termination: What is a protected activity?

Often times when an employee has been terminated, he or she feels as though the termination is wrongful. They may have been treated unfairly or given a reason for their termination that they know to be untrue. Whether or not a termination is wrongful from a legal standpoint, however, involves a different type of analysis.

Can an employee be fired for refusing to break the law?

When an employer directs an employee to engage in illegal activity it puts the employee in an incredibly difficult situation. On one hand, the employee wants to uphold the law, is morally and ethically opposed to what the employer is asking, and naturally would fear the legal consequences of his action. But an equally compelling factor might be the employee's need for the job, the people who depend on him or her to provide a paycheck, and the difficulty of finding gainful employment in this economy. It can seem like a no-win situation.

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The Rutten Law Firm, APC

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Studio City, CA 91604

Phone: 818-308-5945
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