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These tips can help you negotiate a severance package

Even when the economy seems to be doing well, some companies still choose to downsize or reorganize and reduce their workforce. If you have seen a few colleagues already receive their invitations to leave the company, you could be feeling some anxiety that you might be next. The next time the boss calls you into her officer, she might be doing so to let you go.

If you are worried that you might be the next lay off at work, you might be wondering if you are in a position to negotiate a severance package. The following tips can help you through the process.

Are you protected if you blow the whistle on your employer?

Imagine that you have been working in the same office in Sherman Oaks for the last few years. Things were going well until a new manager came on board and starting making changes. You have started seeing things happen that do not seem right. Management has started firing good employees, taking short cuts where they shouldn't and even denying your own claim for medical leave.

There are certain laws in place to protect employees. There are wage laws that keep employers from using unfair pay practices. There are health and safety regulations with which every employer has to comply. And, there is the Family Medical Leave Act that your boss must also adhere to. When you see your supervisors or employer violate employment laws, it is within your rights to report it. You may be concerned with losing your job for filing a complaint, but there are whistleblower laws in place to protect you from that and any other retaliation.

Age discrimination is a serious issue for older professionals

When people think of workplace discrimination, age usually isn't the first category they think of. Many of the most famous workplace discrimination cases have involved people facing sexual harassment or racial discrimination from managers or employers. Age discrimination, while relatively common, seems to garner less attention from the media.

Age discrimination can take a number of different forms. In some cases, it could look like an older staff member receiving fewer shifts, leads or hours at work. Other times, age discrimination looks like workplace harassment when co-workers or a manager take joking too far. Constant jokes about gray hairs, poor memory or the need for adult diapers could certainly create a hostile work environment and harm someone's career. Age discrimination is a serious issue with long-term consequences for its victims.

Retaliation for reporting harassment at work takes many forms

The holiday season is a time for work parties, often involving alcohol. While drinks can facilitate socialization at events, they can also lead to poor behavior and questionable decision making in some. Managers could make unwanted sexual advances toward staff, or one worker could assault others by touching them against their wishes. These kinds of issues are incredibly common, and employers should take reports of harassment and abuse from co-workers seriously, regardless of whether it started at the company party or not.

Unfortunately, harassers often seem to get a free pass in business. People who report abuse, harassment or mistreatment to management or human resources often receive retaliation and punishment instead of support. Those who misbehave and create hostile work environments may go without so much as a write-up, while those who report the misbehavior of others end up miserable at work. That kind of retaliation is illegal, but it happens with some frequency.

Know your rights as a working pregnant woman

Pregnancy is a joyous condition for many women. However, even a women who is thrilled about being pregnant might be wary to discuss the pregnancy with her employer. This is partially because she might be worried about how the employer will react to the news.

One thing that all employees and employers should realize is that discriminating against a woman because she is pregnant is illegal. Here are some points that you should know about this form of discrimination:

Your employer is legally bound to pay you commissions as promised

Taking a job in sales can be very stressful. You need to be constantly working and pushing for better sales figures in order to have a regular income. After all, you may only receive a minuscule base salary, or, in some cases, no pay at all except for commissions. You depend on those commissions to pay your mortgage or rent, to put food on the table for your family and to cover your costs of living.

In order to ensure that you're making enough during any given pay period, you probably track your own sales very closely. That way, you don't have to worry about any surprises when its paycheck time. Tracking is particularly useful if your employer has a bonus structure to the commission program, where selling certain amounts or particular products will earn you extra incentives. If your records aren't matching up with your employer's, you may need to take action.

At-will employment doesn't condone retaliation or discrimination

People who work in California know that this is an at-will employment state. This means that employers can terminate employment without having to have a reason. It also means that employees can quit without a reason. Some people think that this means employers have carte blanche when it comes to dismissing employees. However, this isn't the case.

The law does provide for some very strict reasons why an employer can't fire an employee. These are meant to protect the employee from wrongful termination. Here are some points you should remember about wrongful discharge in California.

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.

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Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

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