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Santa Barbara Employment Law Blog

Sexual harassment and humiliation

When it comes to sexual harassment, victims may suffer in many different ways. Sometimes, a person subjected to sexual harassment may fear that speaking out will result in the loss of their job, while others may be traumatized from what they have been through. Anticouni & Associates is well aware of the different challenges that sexual harassment victims face in Santa Barbara, or any California city, for that matter. We understand that these incidents can also leave victims feeling humiliated and suffering from other forms of emotional pain.

From touching and sexual advances that are not wanted to crude language and the presentation of offensive materials in the workplace, there are many examples of sexual harassment. Furthermore, all forms of unlawful harassment are unacceptable and should be handled right away. If you think that your employer, manager, or someone else at your place of work has broken the law by sexually harassing you, you should not feel afraid to stand up for your rights.

Sexual advances in the workplace

Workers in California who experience sexual advances in the workplace need to understand their rights. Considered to be under the general term of sexual harassment, unwelcome advances are prohibited when it unreasonably interferes with work performance or creates an offensive or intimidating work environment.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual advances are not limited to one gender or situation. The victim can be female or male, and the harasser does not have to be of the opposite sex. The harasser does not need to be a superior and, in fact, it does not have to be an employee. The conduct of the one doing the harassing must be unwelcome, but the offended victim does not have to be the one directly harassed.

Why are payday laws important to those in California?

Whether you're a teen or an executive in his or her 50s, you're entitled to a paycheck that is timely. State payday laws are in place to make sure that businesses don't delay payments to their employees.

If you work for a business with more than five employees, know that you should have received a written notice about your paydays and when to expect them. That information should include how your pay periods work, so you know the cut-off times for each paycheck.

Early termination of a fixed-term contract

Employers and employees in California who sign a fixed-term contract should understand what it means and the consequences associated with early termination. There are a number of reasons why a contract may be used, and it often lays out salary and benefits, confidentiality provisions, employment term and the consequences of ending the contract early.

According to FindLaw, either the employer or employee can end the employment for any reason. Typical reasons contracts are ceased early include:

  • Firing by the employer, either for or without cause
  • Employee resignation
  • Disability
  • Death

What are some sexual harassment examples?

When sexual harassment occurs at work, it can leave victims devastated in different ways. Whether someone experiences mental trauma or is worried about retaliation, victims of sexual harassment may face different hurdles. However, if you have dealt with sexual harassment in Santa Barbara, or anywhere else in California, you should be aware that retaliation is against the law and you should not have to worry about being fired for speaking out.

The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission provides a number of examples of unlawful sexual harassment. Sexual harassment includes conduct that is sexual in nature which impacts a worker's employment, asking for sexual favors, unwanted sexual advances, and sexual harassment that creates a work environment which is hostile. Moreover, it is vital for workers to realize that harassers may be of the opposite or same gender and that the behavior must be unwanted. In fact, sexual harassment can be against the law even if an employee is not affected financially and those carrying out the harassment may be a co-worker, manager, employer, or a customer.

Is disability discrimination against the law?

People are aware of many different examples of illegal discrimination, whether it is based on an employee's race, gender, or age. However, there are other types of unlawful discrimination that disrupt the lives of workers in Santa Barbara, and across the whole state of California, that may receive less attention. For example, some people may not realize that it is illegal to discriminate against an employee because of their disability.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that disability discrimination is prohibited in the workplace. According to the law, covered employers cannot treat job applicants or employees unfavorably solely because they suffer from a disability. In fact, not only is it unlawful for covered employers to discriminate against workers because of disabilities they have, but they are also not allowed to discriminate against them because of suspected disabilities or because of previous disabilities they have dealt with. For example, if an employee was diagnosed with cancer, but their cancer has been in remission, they cannot be subjected to discrimination.

Workplace culture of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment has knowingly been around the workplace for many years, but employees in California are beginning to examine how business culture around the subject is contributing to it. Women particularly are victims of harassment, and many of them experience it at some point in their career. Places that ignore or cover up the issue are making it more difficult for victims to come forward.

National Public Radio demonstrates how recent actions by Fox News highlight how businesses create an environment that downplays harassment and the consequences. Companies that choose to settle sexual harassment cases send the message that the defendant's actions were acceptable, and settling the case allows for similar actions to continue. It also makes it less likely for victims to talk about it because they feel they are not being heard or taken seriously.

Taking a look at age-based discrimination

There are many different types of discrimination, some of which is based on an employee's national origin, while other cases involve an employee's gender. Unfortunately, in Santa Barbara, and other California cities, some employees and job applicants have suffered as a result of age discrimination. It is essential for employees and prospective employees to understand what constitutes unlawful age discrimination and take action if they believe it has occurred.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that it is against the law for a worker who is 40 years old or above 40 to experience discrimination on the basis of his or her age. In fact, it is illegal for a protected employee to experience severe harassment which leads to a negative employment-related outcome or a work environment that is hostile. Furthermore, employers are not allowed to fire or turn down employees' applications solely because they are over the age of 40.

Can my employer make me work off the clock?

The workday can bring about many tedious tasks and processes. Setting up a project at work can take hours before you are actually productive. What happens when you're expected to get the job done but aren't given enough time to do it? The boss says you can't leave until the work is complete, but you aren't allowed to earn overtime beyond 40 hours. Is that legal?

Class-action lawsuit clarifies workforce obligations

If you are an employee who is paid on an hourly basis, you are entitled to overtime wages for all hours worked after 40 hours in a seven period as defined by your employer, according to the Federal Labor Standards Act. An employer must also provide a consistent schedule that outlines the seven-day work week. 

Is your employer illegally refusing to pay you overtime?

If you are an hourly worker, you should receive overtime pay whenever you work more than 40 hours in a given work week. In fact, federal law mandates that all employers must pay workers at least 150 percent their regular wages for all hours over 40 worked during any given work week.

You are not guaranteed overtime pay for work on weekends, work on holidays or work on days that are traditionally off for rest. There is also no maximum number of hours that your employer can require you to work, but you must be fairly compensated for all hours you work, including overtime hours.

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Anticouni & Associates
201 N. Calle Cesar Chavez
Suite 105
Santa Barbara, CA 93103

Phone: 805-699-5968
Phone: 805-845-0864
Fax: 805-845-0965
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