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Workplace discrimination shouldn't lead to retaliation

When you took your job, you expected to have the freedom to make the most of the opportunity unhindered by antiquated biases. Workplace discrimination is not something that you should have to tolerate. Both California and federal law protect employees like you from it. The problem is that your employer may decide to take it out on you if you file a complaint, especially outside of the company.

This is referred to as retaliation, and it is also against the law. Actions such as denying you a promotion, changing your schedule or decreasing your pay are common examples of ways that employers "punish" employees who file complaints to assert their rights. Your employer may also take away some of your job responsibilities, which could effectively demote you.

Wrongful termination suit filed against singer Mariah Carey

More than a few California residents work for celebrities as personal assistants, nannies and more. Those relationships can be challenging considering the amount of public exposure their bosses receive, and some can be quite demanding. When those relationships turn sour, litigation could erupt. This appears to be the case between entertainer Mariah Carey and a former assistant -- who recently filed a lawsuit against the celebrity alleging wrongful termination, among other things.

The former assistant claims that her working conditions forced her to endure sexual harassment, racial discrimination and retaliation. Other allegations include claims that Carey failed to pay earned wages upon termination, violated provisions of an oral contract and violated the covenant of fair dealing and good faith. These claims arose shortly after Carey filed a lawsuit against the former assistant in which the singer accuses her of violating a nondisclosure agreement.

The more money women make, the bigger the wage gap becomes

Everyone has heard that women generally earn less than male counterparts. However, did you know that it can sometimes be millions of dollars less, depending on how high of position a woman is at a company?

CNN recently reported that women in high-paying fields typically earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less than men in their same positions. The report found that women who experience this the most often work as a business and financial executives, doctors and lawyers.

Controversy over meal breaks can cause wage and hour disputes

Even when the workday is not hectic, California workers need to take some time away from their duties. Meal breaks provide this short escape and give workers an opportunity to refuel with some food and drink. Unfortunately, some employers fail to follow the rules when it comes to meal breaks, which can lead to wage and hour disputes from employee's entitled to either the break or pay for the time allowed by law.

California workers who are not quite sure what the law allows regarding meal breaks could end up losing the time they could have used for themselves while at work or pay for meal breaks that an employer failed to provide. During the course of the workday, an employer must provide a meal break of at least 30 minutes before a worker spends five hours at work. Another minimum 30 minute meal break should occur prior to the end of the 10th hour of work.

Did accounting irregularities lead to a wrongful termination?

Older California residents may remember that Ray Charles never let his blindness keep him from entertaining people with a smile. Later in his life, he lent his name to an organization called the Ray Charles Foundation. Recently, the foundation has come under scrutiny because one of its former employees claims that she is the victim of wrongful termination.

The employee in question began working in the organization's accounting department back in 2014. She claims that at the beginning of 2018, she discovered some irregularities in the records and reported them to her superiors. She found what she believes to be fraudulent transactions covering unauthorized expenses such as home improvements, travel and a vehicle purchase, along with other questionable accounting entries.

Free yourself from sexual harassment in the workplace

Like other people here in Long Beach, you need your job. Without your income, you would not be able to pay the rent, put food on the table or afford your car payment. For this reason, you have put up with sexual harassment despite the fact that you now dread going to work and your physical and emotional well-being are compromised.

Fortunately, you do not have to put up with this form of discrimination. Whether your supervisor or manager wants to trade sexual favors for job benefits (quid pro quo sexual harassment) or you work in an environment where lewd comments, gestures and images make it difficult for you to work, you do not have to countenance it. Federal and California law both prohibit these behaviors in the workplace.

Don't tolerate workplace discrimination due to a disability

Having a disability certainly comes with its challenges. Facing workplace discrimination should not be one of them. California workers with disabilities do not have to tolerate any discriminatory behavior, including failing to provide reasonable accommodations so they can better do their jobs.

As long as a reasonable accommodation does not cause the employer a significant expense or difficulty, the company is required to provide it to an individual with a disability. If an employer refuses to make the necessary and reasonable changes, a claim could be made for disability discrimination. For some California workers, not receiving an accommodation is the least of their concerns.

How does the Family and Medical Leave Act protect mothers?

Being a working mother is not always easy and sometimes employers can make your life even more difficult. Restricting job opportunities and paid leave, even firing or laying off employees who need to take time to help their families is unfortunately not uncommon in the workplace. However, there are protections in place for mothers trying to balance work and family.

The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that can help families and mothers. The FMLA gives working people the opportunity to take unpaid, and in some cases paid, leave for up to 12 weeks, without the possibility of losing their job. It also protects employees from losing their health benefits during this time.

EEOC says more workplace discrimination reports up in 2018

Far too many California workers continue to suffer in silence. Workplace discrimination continues to be an issue across the country. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that reports rose during 2018, partly due to the commission's efforts.

The EEOC launched a new part of its public portal that allows workers to make inquiries and schedule appointments online. According to the agency, this new system allowed for more than 40,000 intake interviews and an increase in inquiries of 30 percent. People now have another way to find out whether certain circumstances constitute workplace discrimination. In fact, the EEOC received more than 200,000 questions regarding potential claims.

Workers stand up to employers through wage and hour disputes

Whether you have a family or live alone, you have financial obligations to take care of, and that is why you go to work each day. In return for completing your duties, your employer is supposed to pay you for your time at an agreed upon rate and in compliance with federal and California law. When that does not happen, workers like you can stand up for your rights through wage and hour disputes.

Without the wages you earned and were promised, you may not be able to pay for your housing, food and utilities, among other things. You may wonder whether your employer is singling you out, but more than likely, you are not. If you are not being paid correctly, it is likely your co-workers are not either.

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