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Misclassification leads to numerous wage and hour disputes

It is not uncommon for Long Beach employers to want to save money in order to increase their company's profits. One of the largest expenses of any business is its workers. Salaries, taxes and benefits can cost a significant amount of money. For this reason, some employers attempt to classify workers as independent contractors, which could give rise to wage and hour disputes.

Independent contractors do not receive benefits, and employers are not responsible for taxes and other expenses related to employees. This status also denies individuals certain legal protections enjoyed by those classified as employees. Many people actually meet the legal definition of an employee, but may not know it.

Is your boss not reacting well to your need for time off?

Workers here in California enjoy some of the best employment law protections in the country. Even so, that does not stop some employers from acting as though the law does not apply to them. If your boss is not reacting well to your need for time off due to the birth of a child, an illness or injury, or military leave, you may have legal recourse.

If you qualify for extended leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, the California Family Rights Act or the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, your employer does not have the right to deny it. Your employer cannot terminate you, demote you or reduce your pay because you request time off in accordance with one of the above laws. Your boss may attempt to retaliate against you in more subtle ways such as eliminating some of your job duties, which could be evidence of retaliation as well.

Multiple types of workplace discrimination can occur together

Most California residents need their jobs, but that does not mean they have to put up with certain behaviors. The law prohibits workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Sadly, not every employer adheres to these laws and failing to do so tends to foster an atmosphere where multiple types of discrimination can occur.

For instance, a woman working in another state for a popular grocery store chain, Sprouts, filed a lawsuit against her former employer, alleging that she suffered from racial discrimination and sexual harassment. She claims that racial epithets were normal and management expressed a veiled desire to reduce the number of black employees in favor of white ones. She alleges that within a year of the woman working for the company, approximately 10 black workers were terminated.

Woman sues California tech company for wrongful termination

Even after decades of gaining ground in the workforce, women continue to suffer discrimination and harassment in the workplace. As a result, they often do not make the same wages as their male counterparts and are assigned tasks beneath their positions despite their qualifications. California's tech industry has seen numerous allegations of discrimination based on age, gender and other factors in recent history, and some of those circumstances resulted in legal action for wrongful termination.

One of the most recent involves a woman who claims a California tech company fired her for speaking out and complaining about gender discrimination. She says the company hired her as a product developer and in March 2017 became a manager of a data glove project. Despite her qualifications, job title and managerial position, she was assigned to sew the gloves along with another woman, whose job title was a hardware engineer.

An aging population continues to face workplace discrimination

As the average age of the country's population continues to rise, it becomes more evident that certain preconceived notions about older people are costing some their jobs. Even in a progressive state such as California, older employees continue to face workplace discrimination despite the state and federal legal prohibitions placed on employers. A U.S. Supreme Court decision back in 2009 did not help the situation since it made it more difficult for older workers to file discrimination claims.

In response to an atmosphere where older workers could end up fired or demoted based on their age without any consequences to the company doing it, members of Congress are attempting to move forward legislation to help. The proposed Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act would essentially undo the high court's decision. If passed, the law would allow aging workers to present "admissible evidence" of age discrimination without requiring this factor to be the sole one in a termination or demotion discrimination claim.

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.

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