4 Workplace Discrimination Facts

Are you being treated unfairly at your workplace and need legal help? Check out these 4 workplace discrimination facts, then call our California attorneys.

1) Employer Refuses to Provide Reasonable Accommodation

4 Workplace Discrimination FactsOne of the main types of cases we take are cases in which an employee is given work restrictions that require accommodation, but, as a result of the work restrictions, the employer isn’t allowing the employee to continue the work. Either the employee is being asked to stay out on leave for an extended period of time, despite the fact that the employee believes that they can work, or the employer has made the decision that as a result of the accommodation request that they have to terminate the employee.

Under California law, it’s extremely important for employees to know that they have rights. The employer has what’s called an affirmative obligation to engage in the interactive process to try and determine whether or not the employee can do their job either with accommodation or without accommodation so that they continue to work for the company. If the employee can’t do their normal customary job, it still doesn’t mean that the employee has to be terminated. If there’s a vacant position within the company, the employee is entitled to that vacant position. It’s important for you to understand that throughout that process, a lot of times the employer doesn’t want somebody there with restrictions, and they’ll throw up roadblocks or come up with excuses or simply just say, “No, you have to be 100% or you can’t come back.” A lot of times that violates the California Fair Employment Housing Act. It’s important for you to find an attorney that is well versed in the Fair Employment Housing Act as it relates to the employer’s obligation to provide an accommodation to permit the employee to continue working. It’s also the employer’s obligation to engage in a good faith and timely interactive process to make sure that the employee can continue working. If you have any questions regarding the employer’s obligation under the Fair Employment Housing Act, or what to do now that you have work restrictions and the employer isn’t returning you back to work, feel free to give me a call. I’m happy to answer any questions that you may have.

2) Filing an Age Discrimination Claim

Last week, I said goodbye to a client that we’ve been representing for just over a year. This employee had come to me about issues at work that were happening over the last couple of years. The employer had worked for the company for 25 years, and over the last couple of years, after he had 60 years old, his manager kept on asking him when he was going to retire and that maybe it’s time to move on. There were comments about him being slower than he used to be and that maybe the technology had just been moved on and that maybe he should look for something else. When the client complained that he felt like he was being targeted because of his age, he was terminated. Under California law, it’s important to understand that employees that are older have protection. In fact, employees over the age of 40 have protection under California law from age discrimination. Age discrimination can take various forms and have a devastating impact on older employees. If you’ve been working for a company and you feel, whether or not you’ve been working for that company for 20, 30 years or whether or not you’ve been working for them for 4 or 5 years, but things have changed and you believe it’s because of your age, it’s important that you find an attorney that can address those issues, whether or not you continue to work for that company or whether or not you’ve been let go from that company. If you have any questions regarding your employment and those questions involve age or any other issue, make sure that you contact an attorney that has the knowledge and the resources to answer those questions for you. Feel free to give me a call if I can answer those questions for you.

3) Filing an EEOC Claim While Still Employed

I received a call yesterday from an employee that was nervous because she was still employed for the company. She had claims that she wanted resolved and issues that she wanted resolved, but she really didn’t want to file a lawsuit, but she just wanted the harassing conduct to stop. She asked me, “What steps should I do if I’m a current employee?”

The steps as a current employee that you should take really do vary depending on the situation and on the employee. What type of risk are you comfortable with? What type of confrontation with a supervisor or co-worker do you feel comfortable with? A lot of times throughout the week I’ll talk to potential clients that are looking for guidance as to what they should do because they are in this type of situation. To some people, they’re scared just to go to Human Resources. They’re scared to say anything. I still have other clients or potential clients who are more than happy to say anything and document and write emails all the way up the chain.

It’s important to note that, while you’re employed, you have rights. There are also various steps you can take to preserve, protect, and exercise your rights. For different employees, the response is different. Just like with different employers, their response to your concerns are different. Sometimes employers do the right thing. A lot of times employers do the right thing. Then there’s those circumstances in which employers just do the wrong thing. It’s in those circumstances, in which they do the wrong thing that you want to make sure you’re protected.

If you’re in a position in which you’re a current employee and you’re wondering what the next step is, I think it’s important for you to talk to an attorney as to the best steps to take in light of your situation. If you have questions as to what the next step should be, feel free to give us a call. I’m always happy to talk to you about what those next steps should be. I look forward to talking to you and helping you. We’re here for you. Just give us a call.

4) Recently Hired Employee Earning a Higher Wage

I got a call this morning from an employee who noticed that their hourly rate was lower than a co-worker that had just been hired a month before. She had a question as to whether that was lawful. Can you have a long-term employee making less than a current employee? Can an employee get paid less or more than a co-worker? If an employer makes a decision to pay an employee a different rate, the employer always has, theoretically, that right. They just can’t do it for an unlawful reason.

In California, the laws are very clear that you can’t pay a different race, gender, or classification of people a different rate because of that characteristic. We talked about the fact that, as a woman, she felt that she was being paid a rate different than her new male counterpart. In fact, under California law, they’ve recently passed the Equal Pay Act, which protects, specifically, women from being paid less than men in comparable positions.

It’s always interesting when an employer makes a decision to pay new employees more than loyal employees that have been there for years. Unfortunately, in the United States, we have a history that’s not always a history that we can be proud of, and it’s not always a history that’s intentional. Sometimes employees are paid less just because they agreed to less and they negotiated a rate that was less, and that’s really all it is. Other times, it’s intentional discrimination. Whatever the case might be, sometimes that decision to pay more is intentional, and the boss made a calculated decision to pay one group of people less than another group of people. Sometimes it’s unintentional and they didn’t set up to treat people differently, but ultimately do. In California, both intentional and sometimes unintentional discrimination when it comes to pay are both unlawful.

If you feel that you’re being discriminated against because of an unlawful reason, because of who you are or because in the past you’ve complained about certain behavior, and as a result they’re penalizing you by paying you less than your co-workers, it’s important for you to understand that you may have rights, and it’s important for you to address those rights in a timely fashion. Every day that goes by is another argument for the employer to argue that their conduct is lawful. If you have questions regarding whether or not you have rights under California law as a result of being paid less than a co-worker, it’s important for you to talk to a law firm. If that’s our firm, great, give us a call. I’m happy to discuss any issues that you have regarding employment issues here in California. Thanks.

Are you or a loved one in the process of filing an employment claim in California and have questions about these 4 workplace discrimination facts? Contact the experienced California employment law attorneys at the Myers Law Group today for a free consultation and case evaluation.

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