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Woodland Hills California Employment Law Blog

What does employer retaliation look like?

As a worker in California who has recently blown the whistle on an issue in your workplace, you may have to deal with the possibility of employer retaliation. Exactly what forms can this come in, though? What does retaliation look like?

Most people think about getting fired when they think of workplace retaliation. However, FindLaw reveals that it can be much more complex. They point out that workplace retaliation can take many different forms and doesn't necessarily involve getting fired at all. Some retaliatory acts do involve demotion, like being knocked down to a lower level position. Others can involve barring you from rising in the ranks, like denying you promotions you would have otherwise qualified for.

Feminist businesswoman accused of pregnancy discrimination

We talk about pregnancy discrimination, but it’s easier to grasp when you have a real-life example to examine. Unfortunately, we have many to choose from.

One such example is from here is California, and it’s been making a lot of headlines. Lynda Resnick, of the Wonderful Company, has long been outspoken about making the workplace more family friendly, and closing the gender pay gap. Resnick was herself, a young, single mom, working hard to get ahead. She’s now the owner of a global operation and a self-made billionaire. What is ironic about Resnick’s story, however, is that she’s now being accused of multiple cases of pregnancy discrimination and wrongful termination.

When workplace retaliation is unintentional

Whether it is a loss of a promotion or a benefit, a harassing remark, or a transfer to a less desirable office, workers can feel angry and humiliated when subject to retaliatory behavior by a California boss. But could your boss commit retaliation for lodging a complaint against a worker without knowing it? It is possible that a superior may act punitively toward a worker unintentionally, but that does not mean that legal consequences could not result.

Some retaliatory behavior is so obvious that it is hard to imagine the person committing it does not know what he or she is doing. However, FindLaw explains that a large number of employers do actually retaliate against a worker without knowing it. In many cases, these unintentional acts may be a good faith attempt to handle a problematic situation, but could end up trampling on the rights of an employee.

Do California employers have to offer lunch and rest breaks?

As someone who makes your living working for a California employer, you have certain rights with regard to lunch and rest breaks during the work day. When your employer fails to comply with the state’s regulations regarding employee meal and lunch breaks, he or she is running afoul of the law, and you may be able to hold him or her accountable for doing so.

According to the California Chamber of Commerce, your employer had a legal duty to provide you with certain lunch and rest breaks unless you classify as an “exempt” employee, meaning you are exempt from minimum wage laws and overtime regulations. As a nonexempt employee, however, your employer must give you at least a nonpaid half-hour lunch break for every five hours you work, and the break must take place prior to the end of your fifth hour on the clock.

Signs it is time to leave your job

The prospect of quitting your job and facing the employment search in California may be daunting. That is especially true if you do not have a developed professional network or a series of quality job leads to help you while you are unemployed.

The risks of joblessness do little to prevent many Californians from leaving their current employers. At Jay S. Rothman & Associates, we often help workers who have finally decided that enough is enough. If you decide to follow a similar path, we suggest that you make sure that an exit is your best option.

Is my workplace required to provide nursing breaks?

New mothers in California often have many concerns when returning to work. One pressing issue involves nursing breaks and whether employers are mandated to accommodate women in this regard. Women’sHealth.gov explains employer obligations as they pertain to nursing breaks in the workplace.

How many nursing breaks does a woman need?

What are the two types of workplace sexual harassment?

Many workers in California have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. If you are one of these workers, you may not understand what type of harassment took place or what legal recourse is available to you. Perhaps you are under the mistaken impression that the law only protects you from harassment by an employer or a superior. This is not true. According to FindLaw, there are laws in place to protect you from sexual harassment in the workplace regardless of whether the harassment comes from a co-worker or a superior.

There are two types of harassment recognized under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: hostile work environment and quid pro quo. 

What are your rights as a pregnant employee?

Balancing family and work is a common occurrence for many women today. Countless women in California are successful employees and mothers, but unfortunately their lives are often made more difficult by their employers.

Pregnant employees in particular can be discriminated against in the workplace by their employers. It is important that all working mothers and mothers-to-be know what their rights are at work.

What are the wage laws for tipped employees?

The wage paid to tipped employees is a commonly discussed topic that can get heated. However, the laws in California are much different from those in other states. While many states and the federal government do not require employers to pay tipped employees at least the minimum wage, in California, the law does, according to the Department of Industrial Relations.

So, if you work as a waiter, for example, and you receive tips regularly from your customers, your employer must pay you at least minimum wage. In addition, the law also protects your tips. Your employer cannot take any tips given to you. Your employer, the business nor your supervisors may take your tips. Your employer can require you to pool your tips and split them among the staff that was directly involved with serving the customer. This might include bus persons, cooks and dishwashers.

Exceptions to at-will employment

Where one to survey those employed in Woodland Hills (or throughout California), the general consensus of most would likely be that as long as one does not give their employer a reason to fire them, then the employer cannot. Unfortunately, California is an "at will" state. According to Section 2922 of California's Labor Code, an employment agreement may be terminated at the will of either side. While this affords employees the chance to leave a company whenever they wish, it also allows companies to fire employees without needing to give a reason. 

One might read this and think that an employer can never be questioned in the decision to fire an employee, yet that is not actually the case. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are both statutory and common law exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine. Statutory exceptions are those that prevent employers from violating the law in their employee dismissals, such as firing someone based on discrimination or in retaliation. Common law exceptions include: 

  • If a firing is in violation of public interest or a public policy (such as firing someone for joining the military reserves or reporting an employer's regulatory violation)
  • If a firing violates an implied contract or implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing
  • If a firing involves intentional interference or intentional infliction of emotional stress
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