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Redondo Beach California Employment Law Blog

Discrimination still happens, but it's often subtle

If you get to work and find racial slurs written on the glass door to your office, it's fairly obvious that you are being harassed and discriminated against on the job. It's things like this -- and worse -- that are why we have such extensive anti-discrimination laws today.

However, that does not mean discrimination doesn't happen. It's often just more subtle now than it used to be.

Contractor misclassification is high on federal radar

For many employers, it's tempting to classify workers as independent contractors to avoid employment taxes, providing benefits or paying overtime. 

However, according to an article published in the Claims Journal, the federal government has gotten wise to this practice. Government workers are on the lookout for business owners who are trying to thwart the system by classifying their employees as independent contractors. 

Examples of mental health discrimination

Your struggles with mental health issues are hard enough to deal with on your own. It takes everything you have to stay on top of it and live a fulfilling life. The last thing you need is to face discrimination in the workplace based on your condition.

Fortunately for you, you are generally protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This applies in all states, including California. You cannot be discriminated against on account of your mental health condition, just as you cannot be discriminated against because of your age, gender, race or religion.

Are men's fears hurting women's opportunities in the #MeToo era?

The #MeToo movement has raised awareness of the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace. However, this increased awareness of what's acceptable behavior may be having troubling consequences, according to a new study by SurveyMonkey and LeanIn.Org.

In the study, 60 percent of men in senior management positions said that they're uncomfortable working one-on-one with women who are their subordinates. That's up 32% from last year.

What is California's C.R.O.W.N. Act?

Racial discrimination can take many forms. According to a bill recently passed unanimously by the California State Senate, it includes regulations involving "traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles."

The bill -- SB 188 -- is known as the Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair (C.R.O.W.N) Act. It would amend the state's current anti-discrimination laws to prohibit workplaces as well as schools from having dress codes that don't allow employees or students to have natural hairstyles. These include styles such as afros, twists, braids and dreadlocks.

Recognizing the subtler forms of sexual harassment

Most people think they'd know if they were being sexually harassed at work or if they saw someone else being harassed. When the behavior involves physical or verbal sexual advances or blatant requests for sexual favors, it's obvious. However, there are subtler behaviors that can qualify as sexual harassment. Even derogatory or demeaning comments about a person's gender can be considered sexual harassment.

For harassment to be considered illegal, however, it must be so severe or frequent that it creates a hostile work environment or results in a victim's demotion or termination. What one person might consider sexual harassment, another may see as no big deal. However, courts will generally consider what a "reasonable person" would consider harassment.

Ex-Beverly Hills employee alleges wrongful termination

A 66-year-old Southern California woman has sued the city of Beverly Hills, contending she didn't receive a promotion because of her age and that hostility from a supervisor forced her to quit her job.

The woman has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, and she alleges wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation and failure to prevent discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation.

UCLA releases discrimination in higher education survey

Our college institutions carry a significant burden in educating the next generation. That responsibility is stressful enough for faculty members without fearing discrimination because of age, gender, race or sexual orientation. Yet, this is a reality university faculty deal with on a regular basis.

A new survey from UCLA of higher education STEM faculty revealed that concerns over workplace discrimination are commonplace in our universities.

What is workplace religious harassment or discrimination?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects applicants and employees both from being discriminated against in the workplace for their religious beliefs or practices. The act covers individuals married to or in close affiliation with those who practice traditional, organized religions and who have other moral, ethical or religious beliefs as well.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) laws make it illegal for any employer to discriminate against an applicant or employee during the hiring, job assignment, training or firing process. Employers can't allow a worker's religion to affect how much pay or fringe benefits that they offer them either. They also can't allow it to affect whether they get a promotion.

Independent contractor? You could be missing out on benefits, pay

You have what you think is a great gig as an independent contractor. It pays a decent amount, and you mostly get to work at home and go into the office occasionally to meet with staff members you're collaborating with on a project.

When you go to the office, however, you overhear some of the conversations about how much someone earns and see the postings on the bulletin board. There's a picnic for employees and families. There are passes to Disneyland and the Dodgers available at a discount rate. And don't forget open enrollment for medical insurance.

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It can be hard to take the first steps in these cases when your livelihood is at stake, but know that you have rights available to you. Let us help you determine what you can do to bring an end to your employer's unlawful behavior.