Friday, August 17, 2012

Employees’ Right to Question Their Termination

Los Angeles Employment Discrimination

One of the most distinguished labor policies that employees are not in favor of is the “at-will” employment.

Its popular definition meant that the company owner has no liability under the law if he or she wishes to fire a worker. Actually, this is quite untrue, since at-will explicitly states that the termination should be done under valid reasons in line with the law. 

Accordingly, a worker who questions his or her dismissal and suspects that it is illegal may assert his or her rights by seeking the help of legal professionals. In this regard, he or she may consult an employment attorney.

Since most cases of wrongful termination happen in the State of California, it would suffice to get the services of a good Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyer. If the lawyer proves that the following violations were committed against the employee, the employer could face heavy penalties from the government: 

Discrimination – Discrimination is the most prevalent reason for the illegal dismissal of workers. Accordingly, employees are given the right to decide for themselves and to be treated fairly no matter what skin color, age, religion, nationality, gender, sexual preference, and disability that they have. Employees should therefore expect that they should be categorized through their qualifications and not because of some biases. 

Refusal to commit an illegal act – A company owner has no right of firing a worker who refuses to commit an illegal act as directed by the administration. This may happen once the employer asks the laborer to do actions that they know are against those prescribed under the Constitution. If this happens, the employer has clearly violated certain employment rights. 

Retaliation – This is described as the cruel and inhumane treatment of an employee who has participated in an investigation against the company or has expressed discontent towards the administration. Most cases of retaliation ends in wrongful termination since workers are forced to quit their jobs due to the treatment that they are receiving. 

One agency where a worker may ask for assistance in this kind of predicament would be that of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This government arm is tasked to handle labor concerns and it can work hand in hand with employment lawyers.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Forms of Religious Discrimination Corresponding Employee Rights

Los Angeles Religious Discrimination | Employment Discrimination

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The employment discrimination in California has taken a lot of forms that will definitely afflict concerned employees. Although California has been acknowledged as one of the states with the most abundant employment opportunities brought by tourism, it is also notorious for various violations and abuse that are committed against employees. One of this is termed as religious discrimination. 

Religious discrimination is referred to as the isolation or negative treatment done towards people who have a different belief or religious practice. According to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, specifically through the Freedom of Religion provision, discrimination is prohibited and it is determined through the following elements:

Denial of the equal protection of the laws
Denial of the  equality of opportunity 
Denial of the access to employment, education, housing, public services and facilities, and public accommodation
Denial of equality of status under the law
Denial of equal treatment in the administration of justice

In line with helping the employees and informing them of their privileges, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has listed the following rights that those who belong in the labor sector are entitled to: 

Religious discrimination and work situations – The law forbids discrimination within the various processes of employment. 
Religious discrimination and harassment – The law does not permit harassment  done on an employee because of his or her beliefs or religion (continuing acts that lead to a hostile working environment).
Religious discrimination and segregation – The law does not allow a worker to be separated from his or her normal tasks due to inequity. 
Religious accommodation/dress and grooming policies – The company owner and the member of staff should have an agreement regarding the use of traditional clothing especially under reasonable circumstances.
Religious discrimination and reasonable accommodation and undue hardship – The company owner does not need to experience undue hardship for a worker who has a different religion. 
Religious discrimination and employment policies/practices – The employees should not be required to follow company policies that would impede their religious practices.  

An employee who has experienced discrimination due to his or her religion should look for Los Angeles employment lawyers. These professionals would aid the said employees in filing a formal complaint to recover some damages awards in the form of money to compensate for the workers’ losses. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Identifying Acts of Sexual Harassment

Acts of Sexual Harassment in Los Angeles

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Sexual harassment has plagued the labor sector for the longest time. Women in particular were the ones who often experience this kind of maltreatment. Luckily, through the years, there seems to be a decline in the number of cases that involve sexually harassing a female employee throughout the United States.

This seems to be the result of the cultural, social, emotional, and psychological revolution that the human race had gone through. Nonetheless, this does not guarantee that sexual harassment had been completely obliterated. It merely implies that these violations have turned far more discreet than before.

In line with the discussion of sexual harassment, it is defined as the maltreatment of an applicant or employee because of his or her sex. It also includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical harassment that are sexual in nature. To probe on the previous cases of sexual harassment that was handled by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a recent press release should be cited.

According to the records of the EEOC, Quality Egg – a defunct egg producer, has violated federal civil rights laws. This is by letting its manager to sexually harass at least two female employees. The EEOC stated that by not doing anything or by not implementing policies that would prevent harassment in the workplace, Quality Egg had breached the rights of employees and its responsibilities as an employer. Therefore, as penalty, the company is set to pay $85,000 to its two female former employees.

To help workers in identifying the elements present in sexual harassment, here are some circumstances cited as examples by the EEOC:

•    The harasser and the victims could be either a man or a woman.  Gender is irrelevant in cases that involve sexual harassment.
•    The actions done by the harasser should be unwelcome.
•    The victim does not need to be the one harassed, but could be someone who is affected by the actions of the harasser.
•    The harasser could be the supervisor, company agent, supervisor of another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee such as a customer.

If this problem took place in California, the victim should ask for the help of a Los Angeles employment lawyer. This person would prosecute the harasser to get justice that the victim rightfully deserves.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Requirements Needed by Workers to Have Access to EEOC Assistance

Lawmakers of the United States created legal policies to ensure that the country’s employment sector is well protected from various employer violations. These legal policies were cemented as laws that require the compliance of company owners regardless which industry they belong to. The main goal of these policies is to pave the way for a more balanced and justice driven employment system in the country.

Nonetheless, even though such laws are already in place, there are still documented cases of discrimination and abuse in different states. It seems that some company owners are not mindful of the penalties and consequences that their discriminatory acts may inflict.

Good thing the government had full knowledge of this, which prompted them to create different government agencies to help in the facilitation of the laws. One such agency is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the EEOC.

Employees must first fulfill the following requirements to be able to have access to the assistance provided by the EEOC:

•    The company must have 15 or more employees.
•    The employee has 180 days to file the complaint since the discriminatory act has occurred.
•    The worker was discriminated due to his or her race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
•    The laborer has filed a complaint at the Human Resources Department of the company but his or her grievance remained unaddressed.

Once the requirements were met, the EEOC will allow the filing of the complaint at their office that is nearest to where the complainant lives. If the discrimination occurred in California, then it is highly suggested to employ the services of experienced Los Angeles employment lawyers. These professionals may act as guides for the client regarding the initial steps that they have to undertake. They will also avert any tricks that could be done by the ailing company in order to stop the processing of the complaint.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Labor Laws as Ultimate Protection from Employment Related Abuse

Labor laws are the ultimate protection of employees against the abuses that they might experience from employers. However, there are companies who are daring and cunning enough to violate these laws by illegally terminating workers. Some workers are even fired because they stood up against the illegal activities that happened within the companies that they work in.

This illegal firing of an employee is referred in legal terms as wrongful termination.  It is commonly the result of retaliation, sexual harassment, or discrimination. Retaliation also refers to revenge.

Accordingly, one way of proving if the employer retaliated is if the worker previously testified in a government investigation regarding the anomalous acts within the company. These workers are called whistle blowers and it would be clearly against the law if the company fires them for aiding the government.

The State of California is one of the places that have a high rate of wrongful termination cases. Incidentally, this phenomenon is often blamed on the pre-existing “at-will” employment policy within the area. At-will, as it is popularly known, states that an employer may readily fire an employee without having legal liability.

On the other hand, this policy downplays the true definition of at-will wherein the employer needs to do the termination under legal or valid reasons. If the employee wishes to file a wrongful termination case in court through the aid of a California wrongful termination lawyer, he or she must prove the following in court:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Employers who Commit Religious Discrimination

Religion is one sensitive personal preference that employers need to respect. According to the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a company owner is prohibited from committing discrimination within the different employment processes such as hiring, firing and other terms of service towards people due to their chosen religion.

One particular case reported in a press release by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) stated that a corporation, Family Foods Inc, which manages a chain of Taco Bell restaurants is about to provide $27, 000 to an employee just to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit. This was after the company ordered an employee named Christopher Abbey to cut his hair or face termination. Abbey considers his religion as a Nazirite and according to its creed, he was bound not to cut his locks.
The employment decisions of the Family Foods Inc. clearly showed that it is forcing the said employee to follow its order through threats of termination. Therefore, it breaches the laws under the constitution that seek to protect workers. There are similar cases like these within populous places such as the state of California, specifically its main city, Los Angeles.

Consequently, the EEOC since its creation in July 2, 1965 had tackled a lot of disputes that arose from the differences which companies fail to reconcile with their workers. In relation to this, an employee who wishes to file a complaint through the EEOC must first do the following to ensure that he or she is making a valid complaint:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Disability is not a Hindrance in Achieving a Dream Job

Having disability does not prevent a person from being employed in a job that he or she wishes to be into. In fact, through the Disability Statistics website presented by Cornell University, 36 percent of the United States labor sector was found out to be comprised of employees with disabilities. This just shows that physical or mental impediments are not really a hindrance to someone who is strongly motivated to pursue a dream job in life. 

Breaking up the stated 36 percent, the statistics meant that some 6,612,900 Americans who had disabilities aged 21-64 are currently employed in the country. It is then justifiable for the government to create laws that would correspond to such segment of society. One of these distinguishable laws is the Americans with Disabilities Act

Americans with Disabilities (ADA) This is one of the laws enacted by the United States Congress in the year 1990. President George H.W. Bush signed it into law on July 26, 1990 but it was later amended in January 2009. Under the ADA, employers, co-workers and customers of companies who have applicants or employees with disabilities are prohibited from committing acts of discrimination. Disability under the ADA is defined as the physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. Here are some of the specific provisions under the ADA:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Racial Discrimination: Its Roots and Forms

Some people are likely to believe that their race is superior to others. These beliefs have led to the death of thousands and even millions across the globe.

Historically, World War II started due to Hitler’s quest to show humankind that Germans were far superior. This ended brutally, making people realize that humans are created equal and would therefore need to have equal rights. 

Experts in the field of human interaction, on the other hand, called the act of humiliating or maltreating people belonging to different race as racial discrimination.   Some of the elements that constitute this are the following:

·         Color
·         Race
·         National Origin

The law specified under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its corresponding amendment in 1991 strictly forbids racial discrimination in the United States. This country was said to have been created due to the involvement of different states, and it would therefore be a violation to its creation if people discriminate one another. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

HIV/AIDS in Employment is nothing New

Recently, a wrongful termination lawsuit was filed against The Ivy, a Los Angeles restaurant famous for its high-end customers such as Hollywood stars like Tom Cruise, Paris Hilton, and Jennifer Aniston.

Reymundo Martinez, its former employee, filed the lawsuit at the California Supreme Court with the help of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

The reason: he was allegedly discriminated against and terminated by The Ivy for being HIV-positive.

Martinez worked at The Ivy for five months as a busser. During his stint at the restaurant, on December 2010, he was diagnosed with HIV. He took medication after a month, but the drugs’ strong side effects forced him to stay home for a day. However, The Ivy management told him not to return to work for the remainder of the week.

His doctor promptly requested The Ivy to facilitate Martinez’s request on work schedule change. However, the restaurant management denied Martinez accommodations. He was terminated immediately.

Martinez is yet another victim of discrimination for being HIV-positive. This also shows that employment discrimination on the basis of medical condition is not new in the society. A lot of cases concerning people with HIV or AIDS have been brought up to people’s consciousness ever since the disease was made known to the world in the 1980s.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Common Issues that Happen in the Workplace

A person’s lifetime is mostly spent on work. For the first-time employee, the fact of being employed is a fun way to gather work experience, wherein he or she gets to deal with quality-oriented tasks and with people around him or her.

Along the way, he or she may experience competition, wherein the possibility of getting promoted or earning a salary increase hangs in the balance. With good attitude and working experience, the person may be well on his or her way to achieve a good standing in the company. This, in turn, can create a decent working environment for all people in the workplace.

Workplace issues

However, working on a job, especially in the corporate setting, is not without its issues. Poor management of most employment aspects, such as hiring, termination, and allocation of wages may lead to unforeseen incidents.

Working relationships may get out of hand because of this. For instance, the professional relationship between the employer and the employee may become affected, especially if the former takes advantage or does something wrong to the latter. Also, working relationships between co-workers may become affected, wherein gossip and personal issues may decrease the employee’s ability to perform well.

Here are some issues that are common inside the workplace:

·         Harassment – Harassing someone can come in many forms. It could be done to inflict physical harm, as in physical harassment. It could also be done through verbal communication which could hurt the feelings of the person; as in verbal harassment. Display of actions or materials of sexual nature, or sexual favors in exchange for employment benefits, constitute sexual harassment.

·         Discrimination – Either it is done in an act or a spoken word, employment discrimination has been one of the growing problems in U.S. Biases in all the aspects of employment, including hiring, allocation of tasks, distribution of compensation, and termination, constitute discrimination. It usually involves jokes, comments, gestures and slurs that are distasteful to the protective classes, including physical or mental disability, age, race, sex, and nation of origin.

There are other workplace issues that are usually forms of misconduct, such as unfair wage allocation, acts of retaliation from the employer, and wrongful termination. Such issues must be dealt with accordingly by the victim through the help of an employment law attorney.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to File a Discrimination Charge with the EEOC

Employment discrimination is still a rampant problem these days. Many applicants and employers are still discriminated against in all aspects of employment, including hiring and termination. Good thing there is one federal agency that is ready to lend a helping hand on discrimination victims by enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws against erring employers. This agency is called the EEOC, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A person who believes that his or her rights as an applicant or an employee had been violated may file a discrimination charge with the EEOC. Not only can one person do it; even an organization or an agency can do so. Collective effort in filing a charge may be done on behalf of the victim. This is to help protect his or her identity.

In filing a charge with the EEOC, the person or the group may first fill out an intake questionnaire. Complainants who need accommodation, such as a sign language interpreter, must immediately inform the EEOC so that arrangements can be made accordingly.

In the actual filing of the discrimination charge, the complainant or the complaining party must provide the following information:

·         The complaining party’s name, address, and telephone number
·         The employment agency, respondent employer or employment agency’s name, address, and telephone number
·         The number of employees or union members involved, if there is any
·         The date, location, and a short description of the alleged violation of employment rights

The complainant/s must first file a discrimination charge with the EEOC first before taking on a private lawsuit. This will only apply if the EEOC does not find any violation on the part of the employer.

Strict limits are implemented on the filing of charges. The complainant/s whose employer violated a federal employment law must file a charge within 180 days from the day of the alleged violation. The deadline is extended if the charge is also covered by a state and/or local employment law. For charges related to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), only state laws extend the filing deadline to 300 days.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Things to Consider before Filing a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

It is normal for  a lot of employees to be mad if they got terminated. The first thing that might enter their minds is why it happened, especially if they did not do anything wrong.
It might be a bit of a relief on the part of the former employees to file complaints so as to  alleviate their anger towards the person responsible for their illegal termination.
However, making a claim is not always as easy as it may seem to be. It takes a lot of thinking and analysis on the aspects that may make or break the claim. It is important to understand certain policies that will create a great impact on the result of the incident.
In dealing with illegal termination, former employees have to know about the following so as to deal with the case properly:
  1. It would not make sense to file a complaint at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if the applicant has worked for the employer for just a short period of time. Also, if the EEOC believes that the applicant will not have a hard time looking for another job, the complaint will probably not progress.
  2. Getting a great lawyer is not that easy. It would take a lot of time, money, and effort to  find a lawyer who can professionally and successfully handle the case.
  3. Evidence and witnesses are necessary in the litigation process. They are important to prove that wrongful termination took place.  As an advice, contact a top notch lawyer in your place to guarantee that you will get favorable results.
  4. Any accurate reason can be used to prove the employer’s wrongful conduct.
  5. The process of litigation or filling a complaint can be very draining in terms of mental, physical, and emotional aspects.   With this, it is important to go into the legal battle very much prepared.
  6. Filing a wrongful termination lawsuit or complaint can affect the future job hunting of the complainant. It may delay his or her application, as further investigation may be done by the prospective employer.

Friday, March 30, 2012

What actually is “Reasonable Accommodation”

Employment discrimination has been continuously occurring in spite of the implementation of different employment laws that cater to the interest and protection of employees. Taking into account reasonable accommodation, it is defined as allowing an employee with disability to perform specific function in the same manner as employees with disability.

Meanwhile, an employer carries the responsibility of making reasonable accommodations for the employee’s disability. In other words, an employer is the one who must make adjustments in order to fit the interest of the disabled employee.

Reasonable accommodations often include:

·   Restructuring the job or duties to allow the disabled employee to do the job
·   Permitting the disabled employee to have vacation for medical reasons
·   Providing the disabled employee with a qualified reader or interpreter
·   Changing the work schedule to suit the comfort of the disabled employee
·   Putting in special equipment to help the employee do his or her duties, such as wheelchairs and ramps
·   Allowing the disabled employee to take additional unpaid leave for medical purposes
·   Moving the disabled employee to a vacant position or to a temporary light-duty position

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pregnancy-related Protections under Title VII

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits any act of discrimination on the basis of childbirth, pregnancy, or related medical conditions, including unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII. This provision covers employers with 15 or more employees, as well as state and local governments.

Under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, PDA also applies to employment agencies, labor organizations, and the federal government. Also, women who are pregnant or were affected by pregnancy-related conditions must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees with the same abilities or limitations.

Here are the protections provided by Title VII:

Hiring. Any employer should not deny application of a pregnant applicant only because of her condition and other pregnancy-related stipulations, or because of the discrimination done by co-workers, customers, or clients.

Health Insurance. Any health insurance provided by employer must cover expenses for the employee’s pregnant condition on the same basis as costs for other medical conditions. However, in cases of abortion, an employer does not need to provide health insurance, except where the mother’s life is endangered.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Importance of a Pre-employment Screening Program

One of the tactics that hiring personnel do to determine the applicant’s suitability for the position that he or she is applying for is the pre-employment screening. It is usually done before accepting an applicant for a particular post.

The major reason why pre-employment screening is necessary is to verify the qualifications of applicants. However, skills and capacities to do the job are not the only areas of consideration in the probe.

The personality backgrounds of applicants are also usually taken into consideration. In such cases, the legal services of employment law attorneys may be needed, as the “screeners” have to be thorough in the screening.

Meanwhile, here are the key areas in which a pre-screening background works:

  • Conducting a pre-screening program encourages applicants to feel at ease during the interview.

  • A screening program shows that an employer has made his or her duty of complying with the needed diligence, which provides a great deal of legal protection in the event of a lawsuit.

  • It describes and sets limitations of uncertainty in the hiring process. Although impression and instinct during the hiring process are essential, a decision made based on concrete information is way better than any other bases.

  • Doing a pre-screening can discourage applicants with their plans of hiding something. A person with a criminal record or a forged resume will simply apply to a company that does not do pre-screening.

Additionally, in the conduct of a pre-employment screening, checking criminal records is a great example, as it helps accomplish safe hiring.

There has been an inference that 10 percent of job applicants have criminal conviction records prior to the hiring process. Without pre-screening programs, statistics shown that companies unwittingly  hire someone with a criminal record.

Such record is commonly uncovered by qualified researchers who visit courthouses where the applicant has resided or worked.