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San Fernando Valley Employment Law Blog

Strategies to minimize potential age discrimination at work

As a California worker ages, he or she faces the risk of being pushed out by an employer. As a general rule, women are more likely to experience age discrimination than men. This is partially because of cultural perceptions that men get better with age while women become less valuable. While the law forbids age discrimination, proving it can be difficult.

To win a case involving alleged age discrimination, a worker would need to show that prejudice was the primary reason why an employer made a decision. Therefore, an employer could argue that it was simply terminating an older worker as part of an overall downsizing of operations. However, employees can take steps to make themselves too valuable to employers to let them go as they age.

Employers cannot insist employees be 100% healed before returning to work

Say you had a medical issue or injury, work-related or not. At some point, you may have reached out to your employer about working with some restrictions. Your supervisor might believe that certain restrictions will prevent you from performing the job as needed, emails HR and indicates an inability to accommodate the restrictions. It is then communicated to you that the you cannot work until you are fully recoverd, or 100% healed. This position by the employer would be a failure to engage in the interactive process to determine reasonable accommodations for your disability.

Have You Been Misclassified as an Independent Contractor?

Wrongfully classifying employees as independent contractors just got a lot riskier in California. Earlier this month, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc., v. Superior Court, adopting a broad view of workers deemed "employees" as opposed to "independent contractors" for purposes of claims alleging violations of California's Wage Orders, established to regulate wages, hours and working conditions for California employees.

Major Biomedical Research Institute Accused of Sex Discrimination

Sex and gender discrimination have recently been in the spotlight as prominent individuals, companies and politicians have come under fire. More and more employers are being accused as well. But we might all ask, why now? How come everyone is speaking out against these individuals and companies now? Simply put, because when one person speaks up, two people speak up, and so on.

10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Lawyer for a Wrongful Termination Case

Here are 10 questions you should ask when interviewing lawyers to handle your wrongful termination or workplace harassment case:

Are You Entitled to Disability Leave During Your Pregnancy?

Every person is unique and so is their pregnancy. Some pregancies are more difficult than others. While pregnant, many women are diagnosed with a pregnancy-related disability, such as pregnancy-induced hypertension, morning sickness, or gestational diabetes. Women who are suffering from these conditions will often need to take time off from work to avoid further complications.

Hiring the first lawyer in a Google search could cost you millions

An employee is injured on the job or needs medical care for a serious illness. He takes time away from work. The employer is not happy about this. Employers are never happy when a disabled employee needs an accommodation. Reasonable accommodations, though guaranteed by law -- things like time off from work, modified job duties or an ergonomic work station -- cost employers money. What does the employer do? Oftentimes, they force employees on leaves of absence, harass or retaliate against employees who frequent the doctor, and begin "documenting" so-called "performance issues." Ultimately, employees are terminated because of their disability or injury.

Should I sign my employer's release form in exchange for severance pay?

Employers in California are not required by law to provide severance pay to anyone who is laid off or terminated (some exceptions apply). However, if your employer has provided you with a severance package, you should consider negotiating your severance and release terms, especially if you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated. Remember, it is unlawful for California employers to fire employees because of disability, gender, race national origin, disability, religion, sexual orientation, pregnancy or age. Whistleblowers reporting unsafe working conditions or illegal conduct are also protected.

Can an employer consider prior salaries in setting pay rates?

The Ninth Circuit court in Rizo v. Yovino held recently that an employer cannot pay a female employee less than a male employee for the same work simply because the female employee made less money in a prior position. This holding changed the court's prior ruling and changed the law in a way that is designed to  eliminate gender-based pay gaps.

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