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Northern California Employment Law Blog

Lesser known California anti-discrimination laws

In light of recent news reports, a lot of people in the Fresno area probably recognize that their employers cannot discriminate against them based on race, gender, and membership in other protected classes. Employers must also take reasonable steps to keep their workplaces free of sexual harassment, and they must give appropriate protections to pregnant employees.

There are, however, lots of other protections from various types of discrimination or unfair treatment that California law affords workers. On a related point, California law also protects workers from retaliation should they choose to stand up for their rights by formally reporting unlawful conduct or cooperating with regulators who are investigating the same.

California gives additional rights to pregnant workers

As this blog has discussed on previous occasions, employers in the Fresno area must afford pregnant workers certain rights and protection, including the right to be free from discrimination based on pregnancy.

A previous post went over some of these rights as they are enshrined in federal law, which of course applies in both California and the other states. However, California law actually gives some additional rights to pregnant workers or, in other cases, expands upon rights already provided under federal law.

California measure may help sexual harassment victims

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, California lawmakers have passed a bill that may help victims of sexual harassment and other discrimination have their day in court and, thus, have a better chance of getting the justice they deserve.

One of the problems that the #MeToo movement, which is an ongoing social backlash against the pervasive problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, uncovered involves mandatory arbitration agreements.

What can I do about the proverbial "boys club" at work?

California and federal laws protect workers from certain kinds of workplace discrimination on the basis of sex or gender. For example, an employer is probably breaking the law when it hires women only for low-level positions and reserves all management positions for male job applicants. However, there are many cases where it's difficult to determine whether the discrimination occurred, or if it rose to the level of unlawful discrimination.

Some particularly difficult cases involve allegations of discrimination in networking events outside of the workplace. If only male co-workers go out to a happy hour at a local bar after work, their shared social interaction may give the members of their "boys club" an advantage in the workplace.

Pregnancy and temporary disability in the workplace

Working while pregnant may constitute a difficult situation. Pregnancy symptoms may leave you ill or unable to complete some necessary elements of your job. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ensures that you do not face discrimination in your workplace during your pregnancy, or your employer could face serious charges.

Further, the EEOC requires your employer to treat your pregnancy with respect and provide necessary accommodations for you if needed. Understand that if you do become pregnant while you have a job, the United States ensures that you receive fair treatment and are given necessary aid throughout your pregnancy journey.

Statistics show thousands of claims of pregnancy discrimination

Thousands of women have been subject to unlawful discrimination because they were pregnant, or because their employers feared they would become pregnant. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the agency that receives and investigates claims of pregnancy discrimination at the federal level. In its role, the EEOC has compiled statistics both of the number of new pregnancy discrimination claims reported and the number of pending cases the EEOC has resolved.

Although it is hard to tell if this is a long-term trend, over the last two years, the number of allegations of pregnancy discrimination have been on the decline. In 2017, there were 3,174 new claims filed, compared with 3,486 in 2016 and 3,543 in 2015. In 2010, there were 4,029 claims filed.

California court: employees to be paid for all tasks

The California Supreme Court recently made an important decision that will better ensure that Fresno employees who work by the hour get paid for all of their work. This recent decision made a bit of a splash in the news media, since it undermined a common practice among employers and also set a higher bar in this state than what would apply under federal wage and hour rules.

Specifically, under federal law, an employer does not have to pay for every minute that the employee works. In the eyes of the federal courts, to require this would be impractical, as employees always have to take a few short moments to set up before work begins and shut things down after their shift is over.

Warning signs of pregnancy discrimination

Fresno employers probably know that discrimination based on pregnancy is unlawful. Unfortunately, this means that some employers who treat pregnant employees differently try to hide their violations.

With that in mind, California employees who are expecting need to be aware of some subtle warning signs that they are being victimized. Many of these signs of pregnancy discrimination are the same for other types of discrimination as well.

Interview Questions That Are Illegal to Ask

Interviews can be nerve-wracking. You try to find a balance of professionalism and personality, while your potential employer analyzes your background and your answers to their questions.

Though you may feel as though your possible employer inquires about your personal life to find commonality and a topic of conversation, it is illegal in the United States for employers to ask some questions that may reveal personal details about your life. Should you be interviewed and asked any revealing questions, you have the right to avoid answering.

Are women disproportionately targets of age discrimination?

Several recent reports suggest that people in the Fresno, California, area and throughout the United States have some areas to brush up on when it comes to how they treat older workers. For instance, one report found that managers are not thinking about having a diversity of workers who are older and younger as much as they might consider the importance of having a workplace with lots of differences in terms of race or gender or sexual orientation.

Unfortunately, though, not paying attention to age as a form of employment discrimination may prove to adversely affect women. Statistics suggested that of the 18,000 complaints alleging age discrimination that were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, most of the alleged victims were female.

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