The California legislature recently passed Senate Bill 970 (SB 970) in an effort to combat human trafficking. SB 970 added Section 12950.3 to the Government Code and amended the Federal Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). FEHA already requires employers to provide sexual harassment training to their employees but is now taking it a step further with some employers.
Under Assembly Bill 3109 (AB-3109), any contract or settlement agreement will be deemed void and unenforceable if it contains a provision waiving a party's right to testify regarding criminal conduct or sexual harassment by the other party or the other party's employees or agents in an administrative, legislative or judicial proceeding.
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.
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.
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.
Let's take a hypothetical example of a case to understand when you might have a case against your employer.
In California, if an employee wishes to file a discrimination lawsuit against an employer, he or she must file charges with the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) and/or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and obtain what's called a "right to sue" letter. This process is also known as "administrative exhaustion". Charges can be filed online at the DFEH's website and, as of November 1, 2017, on the EEOC's website. Charges can also be mailed using the DFEH's form. The EEOC permits mailed letters containing the following information:
The word "whistleblowers" is often perceived with a negative connotation. Sometimes the stigma surrounding being a whistleblower prevents employees from disclosing an employer's violation of a state or federal statute. But whistleblowers shed light to wrongs and even fraudulent actions of an employer, in turn protecting individuals who are harmed. Take for example, a recent case filed by The deRubertis Law Firm that caused the tumbling of Wal-Mart's stocks after a whistleblower's accusations. Huynh v Wal-Mart Stores Inc et al., U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 18-016310.
Like many other forms of discrimination, discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal under California and federal law. The first step to preventing discrimination at work is understanding your rights.