Men and Women work because they need to earn a living. One’s ability to earn the income to provide for food and shelter is a highly regarded right that is protected by the law. Everyone aspires to work free from discrimination, harassment, and improper employer reprisal. Everyone should be paid a legal wage. At Lallande Law, PLC we will vigorously pursue the protection of your rights in the workplace.
Employees may have legal rights against their employers for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to:
- Failure to pay proper wages.
- Improper employer reprisal: by wrongful termination, hostile work environment, demotion, decreased pay.
- Discrimination: The unequal treatment of parties who are similarly situated.
- Harassment: Unwanted pervasive conduct that affects an employee’s ability to do their job.
Discrimination in the workplace is illegal. Discrimination occurs when an employee is denied employment or is terminated (or there is a change in the employee’s terms of employment) based upon (California Government Code Section 12940):
- National Origin
- Religious Affiliation
- Marital Status
- Pregnancy, or
- Sexual Orientation
The unwanted conduct of an unlawful nature and can take many forms such as sexual harassment, or racial harassment. When the harassing behavior is so severe and pervasive that it affects the employee’s ability to do his or her job then a hostile work environment is created. Employees have the right to be free from a hostile work environment.
- When a supervisor, manager or employer demands sex in return for a raise, continued employment, or promotion, this is sexual harassment.
- Off-color jokes, pin-up photographs of naked men or women, Internet pornography on work computers, and unwanted touching are all examples of sexual harassment.
- Often times the employer’s conduct of discrimination or harassment is carried out by the employee’s manager or supervisor. In California an employer is strictly liable for any harassment undertaken by a supervisor. This means that they are deemed to have knowledge of the conduct of supervisors and they are liable automatically if that conduct can be proven.
In California, if you are terminated for an unlawful reason, you may be entitled to recover damages. Examples of wrongful termination that violate state or federal law include the following:
- Dismissal on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or even mistaken perceptions of any of these.
- Retaliation for asserting a protected right, such as filing a sexual harassment complaint, taking family or medical leave, or applying for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Getting fired for reporting illegal or unethical conduct on the part of a manager or supervisor in private or public employment.
Time Periods/ limitations periods: An employee has a limited time within which to bring a claim for harassment or discrimination, and in most situations a complaint must be filed within one year. A California employee who has suffered a violation of their rights under the Fair Employment and Housing Act must generally file a DFEH complaint with the DFEH (Department of Fair Employment and Housing) within one year of the wrongful conduct (though there are limited exceptions), and before a lawsuit is filed. http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/DFEH/Complaints/eCompProc.aspx.
The Fair Employment and Housing act (FEHA), at Government Code section 12965, subdivision (b), requires that individuals must exhaust their administrative remedies with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing by filing a complaint and obtaining a “right-to-sue notice” from the Department before filing a lawsuit under the FEHA. DFEH will accept requests for an immediate DFEH “right-to-sue notice” from persons who have decided to proceed in court. Your DFEH complaint must be filed within one year from the last act of discrimination or you may lose your right to file a lawsuit under the FEHA.
For a free initial consultation with Lallande Law PLC, fill in the contact form or call (800) 308-8800.