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Los Angeles Employment Law Blog

Did your employer retaliate against you for reporting harassment?

Most companies have policies in writing that condemn acts of harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Unfortunately, many companies also have toxic work cultures and refuse to take steps to remedy that issue. You know your company's policy on harassment and may have had special training on the topic, so you followed the proper protocol.

You reported the situation to human resources and expected that it would get addressed with the people who were mistreating or abusing you. Unfortunately, that isn't always what happens.

The Fair Labor Standards Act protects your rights as an employee

When you go to work, you deserve to feel like you are respected. The state helps protect you and encourages inclusion through the use of laws that prevent employers from retaliating or penalizing you in various situations. There are dozens of laws on the books today.

California has a variety of laws that are there to help prevent retaliation and discrimination in the workplace that you can learn about over time, but only a few impact your daily life. Here are just three that help protect the rights of employees in the state.

Harmed by racial discrimination? The law is on your side

You might have thought that racial discrimination in the workplace would have ended during the civil rights revolution of the 60s. Unfortunately, workplace discrimination continues to persist.

In fact, most California workers who identify as a member of a minority race, nationality, religious group, sexuality or other protected status, will agree that they have experienced or witnessed countless examples of discrimination. Fortunately, if you have been harmed by racial discrimination, the law is on your side.

Walmart allegedly violates the FMLA

Earlier this year, Walmart faced accusations of violating the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by illegally punishing employees that used sick days and took time off to care for ill family members. Since Walmart is the largest employer in the United States, this is extremely troublesome. More than 1,000 current and former employees participated in a survey and spoke with advocacy groups that brought this problem into the spotlight.

The FMLA provides protections to workers that need to take days off due to a personal medical condition or to take care of a loved one suffering from an illness, injury, or disability. According to the survey and interviews, Walmart employees have suffered penalties including termination for calling in sick. If you feel that your employer has violated the FMLA or retaliated against you for using legally protected sick time, an experienced attorney in the Sherman Oaks area can help.

What happens when your employer illegally denies you overtime pay

You work hard for your employer. Sometimes, that means that you put in more than 40 hours. Some employers will do just about anything to avoid paying their employees legally mandated time-and-a-half wages for overtime. This could include forcing people to clock out, under threat of punishment or termination, and then requiring them to continue working off the clock.

It could mean that management is illegally changing your time cards to remove any overtime hours. It could even result in an employer firing you for requesting that you get paid the appropriate amount for the time you've worked.

There are many types of workplace retaliation

As a worker, you have a variety of legal rights. For example, if you blow the whistle on your employer, both federal and state laws provide protection.

Despite the many laws in place to protect employees, remember this: there are still times when workplace retaliation comes into play.

Thinking of reporting a violation? You're protected

Over the years, it has become not only more acceptable, but even applauded if someone blows the whistle on unethical workplace practices. If you are witnessing practices in the workplace that are illegal or even immoral, you have the right to stand up and speak up. There are laws in place at the state and federal levels to protect people that report incidents of wrongdoing committed by employers.

If your employer has retaliated against you for reporting a violation of the law, the court might charge him or her with a crime. In order to protect your rights, you might consider consulting an employment attorney in the Sherman Oaks area. Legal counsel can help you fight for your rights as an employee in the face of illegal retaliatory actions. Read further to learn more about California whistleblower laws.

Breastfeeding or pumping moms often face workplace discrimination

Most women know that the Family Medical Leave Act protects them when they need time off of work during or after a pregnancy. Not as many women realize that both federal and California state law protects them when it comes to lactation as well. After the birth of a child, a mother has the legal and medical right to decide to nurse her child or pump her breast milk after returning to work in order to support her child's health and development. There are many medical benefits for both mother and child associated with breast milk, which is why there are legal protections in place.

Too often, however, employers choose not to honor the rights of their nursing or pumping employees. It is common in sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination cases for employers to thinly veil their mistreatment of, or discrimination against, female employees.

Were you fired or punished for reporting sexual harassment?

You've worked hard to get the education and experience you need to find a good job. You pride yourself on professionalism, and you expect nothing less from your employers and co-workers.

Unfortunately, your newest position didn't prove to be as stable or professional as you'd hoped. Instead of equal and professional treatment, you found yourself faced with sexual harassment. You followed company procedure and reported the incident(s), only to find that you, rather than those harassing you, are facing punishment. While the law prohibits this kind of behavior, it is all too common in many businesses.

What You Don't Know About Sexual Orientation Harassment

As Californians, we are fortunate to live among a diverse and generally open-minded population. We are a progressive state, and we often lead the way when it comes to protecting civil rights and preventing inequality.

While many companies throughout the country have instated LGBT-friendly policies, that doesn't mean they are always upheld or understood in their entirety. Here is some clarification on a couple of the often misunderstood points.

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