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Bay Area Employment Law Blog

What you need to know about sexual harassment in the workplace

Sexual harassment is an age-old problem and something that is not as uncommon as some people may think. This form of sex discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under Title VII, sexual harassment describes "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct."

The behavior of sexual harassment in the workplace does not have to be of sexual nature. It can also include offensive remarks about a person's sex. Because it takes many forms, sexual harassment can sometimes be missed or misunderstood. It is important to identify harassment in the workplace as it can be traumatizing and stressful for the victim.

What can be considered discrimination in the work place?

Navigating a new work situation is difficult, especially if you are a minority in the workplace. Unfortunately, discrimination at work still happens but sometimes it may be hard to recognize. There are a variety of categories and types of discrimination. Here is a brief list to help you figure things out. 

In this age of technology, does age work against older workers?

There are various bases of valid workplace discrimination lawsuits. We commonly hear about sexual harassment or religious discrimination. But there is a protected class of workers, a class we will all become part of someday, that also faces illegal hardships in the workforce: the demographic of workers who are 40 years old and older.

Older workers are protected from discriminatory practices in the workplace that specifically compromise their rights to work. Ageism laws protect workers 40 and over from losing their jobs due to their age. This is true for any industry in California, including its cutting edge technology and web industries.

Employers don't always follow the rules

In a capitalistic society where companies hold an exceeding amount of power over not just their workers but the world in general, it is no wonder that those companies will try to push the limits of what they can get away with. Furthermore, they will try to wring every ounce of energy and work out of their employees. This can lead to some awful working conditions, as well as some downright illegal ones as well. If proven, the affected employees deserve compensation.

But that doesn't come without a lot of work. Employees that are negatively affected by their employers due to no overtime pay, forced overtime, claims of no break time or disrupted meal breaks need to consider their legal options.

Bay area employees union faces discrimination suit


The Contra Costa County Public Employees Union Local 1 has had a rough few years, and things have just gotten rougher. The recently ousted general manager has served the union and 11 of its board members with a lawsuit, alleging serious racial discrimination was directed his way during his controversial tenure in the position.

How a termination can be deemed 'wrongful'

Being terminated from a job, whether it was a firing or as part of lay offs, is never fun. Anyone in that situation is going to be upset and have thoughts centered on whether they were treated fairly or not. Some of these people have legitimate reasons to feel aggrieved.

It is important to fully consider your case though before you proceed with a wrongful termination claim. The first question to ask is whether your firing truly was "wrongful." A wrongful termination requires the employer to illegally terminate someone, such as by violating the terms of a contract, utilizing discriminatory rhetoric or reasoning for the termination, or retaliating against an employee for lodging a complaint or claim against the employer.

Wage & hour lawsuit yields major windfall for affected employees

The following story deals with a specific restaurant with four locations in a small area outside of California. But the location isn't the crucial part of this story -- it is the wage and hour violation the restaurant committed, and how it relates to any and all restaurant employees in this state and all across the country.

129 employees and former employees of El Azteca sued the restaurant for not paying them minimum wage and also failing to give them overtime pay when they worked more than 40 hours in a week. Their lawsuit was recently ruled upon, and a court decided that El Azteca had to pay $700,000 for their wage and hour violations -- $350,000 for back wages and $350,000 in damages.

On workplace discrimination, and how victims should proceed

Everybody wants to perform and act in a setting where they are being treated fairly, regardless of what they are doing. You could be playing sports, raising a child, hanging out with friends or, yes, working at your job -- and in all of these scenarios, the expectation is that we are being treated fairly and without bias.

Unfortunately, that does not always happen. People discriminate against other people for a variety of (invariably unjust) reasons. When this happens in the workplace, the effects are incredibly damaging to the victim, who feels embarrassed, upset and unwanted -- and for no reason other than that their fellow co-workers couldn't treat them equally and with respect.

Woman sues nursing company for wrongful termination

A couple of months ago, we wrote a post about wrongful termination and how there are certain circumstances where a company fires or terminates an employee that leads to a lawsuit. This is an important subject, and today, we have a news story about it that though it doesn't originate from San Francisco, it does highlight important aspects of wrongful termination that relate to anyone, anywhere.

A woman who used to work as an executive director of a nursing company has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company after she was fired for not meeting "job requirements" that were actually labeled "supervisory goals" in her contract.

A few common wage & hour questions, answered

Wage and hour laws can be a bit complicated, and learning about them isn't exactly a high priority for many people, even though it is an incredibly important topic. That's understandable, so today we're going to discuss some basic wage and hour topics that apply to many people.

First, can an employer pay someone below the minimum wage? For the most part, the answer is "no." However, if you make tips at your job; and it is established by your employer that the arrangement is for the tips to make up a part of your income; and that employer pays you at least $2.13 per hour and you make at least $30 in tips per month; then yes, your employer can pay you less than minimum wage. There are also certain jobs and exemptions that can apply to a job that allow a company to skirt the minimum wage law.

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