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Woodland Hills California Employment Law Blog

Can I be fired because of my family’s genetic history?

Imagine a scenario where a California employee is suddenly approached by a supervisor. It turns out the employee’s genetic history has been discovered, and the employer learned that the employee’s family contains genetics that are conducive to developing a certain form of cancer. The employee is then terminated from that workplace. If you are familiar with this kind of situation, you should also know it is illegal under federal law.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website states clearly that workers cannot be fired on account of their genetic information. An employer has no right to take your family’s genetic history and use it to make employment decisions. The fact that your family may possess a predisposition for a certain disease or disorder is irrelevant if you in fact do not suffer from that malady and thus suffers no physical impediment to performing your job.

What do you do if your employer does not pay your overtime?

Few things are as disappointing and frustrating as receiving less than you expect on a paycheck. The sting is even worse if you sacrificed important time with your family or friends to work overtime. If you are lucky, then your employer might give you the money you deserve without any trouble. However, some California employers are less grateful towards their employees than others. If you happen to be working for someone who has refused to pay money that you worked hard for, you might still have some options available. 

According to FindLaw, there are federal agencies that might back up your attempt to recover back pay. Specifically, the United States Department of Labor has a specific section to deal with situations like yours: the Wage and Hour Division. The WHD might investigate on your behalf, and the Secretary of Labor might also intervene with litigation. Additionally, you might be able to bring civil suit.

LGBTQ workers continue the fight for workplace civil rights

While civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have come a long way in the last decade, there is still no nationwide law protecting LGBTQ workers from harassment or discrimination in the workplace. 

What is a whistleblower?

In any workplace in California, you have the right to feel safe. You also have the right to report any safety violations or illegal activity by your employer. In addition, you have the right to not participate in an activity you feel is unsafe or otherwise illegal.  You may fear your employer finding out you made a report. This is why there are protections in place for a person who reports negative information about an employer, which is defined by the Department of Industrial Relations as a whistleblower

Whistleblower protections prevent an employer from retaliating against you for making a report. This means your employer cannot do anything to punish you for your actions, such as firing you, lowering your wages or making job changes. You are also protected against harassment from anyone for making a report against your employer.

Can I sue if my employer breaks an oral agreement by firing me?

If you have suddenly found yourself terminated from your California workplace and there is no written contract that spells out the terms of your dismissal, or if you are certain you have not violated any workplace standards that could cause your firing, you may want to think if your employer has verbally promised employment based on certain standards. In some cases, an employer’s spoken word is as binding as a written document, and if broken, can be grounds for wrongful termination.

According to Findlaw, a verbal declaration made by an employer can create a binding employment contract in many states. That statement can take on the form of promising employment as long as a certain general requirement is met, such as the employee providing sales above a certain threshold. In other cases, the employer may simply require good behavior on the part of the worker to stay employed.

Is tipping contributing to sexual harassment in restaurants?

Studies have consistently shown that restaurant workers face among the highest rates of sexual harassment. Those who work as servers risk sexual harassment from managers/bosses as well as from customers.

There may be many reasons for the greater prevalence of harassment in food service, including the fact that servers are disproportionately female. And many observers believe that a common American practice is giving customers license to harass and forcing servers to accept harassment: tipping.

Male-dominated fields more prone to gender discrimination

It only takes a quick look at a newspaper in 2018 to see that sexual harassment and discrimination are a big problem for women in the workforce. There have been a large number of high-profile complaints putting a spotlight on these issues. Sexual harassment gets more headlines, but discrimination based on gender is an equally significant problem for women.

 Jay S. Rothman Attorney Image