Employees are protected by federal law from discrimination and retaliation for asserting their protected rights. The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, provides such a right, allowing employees to take a certain amount of unpaid leave from work, while requiring their employer to hold their job, or an equivalent position, until they return. If an employer fails to provide an employee with this leave or punishes them for using the protected leave, they may be in violation of law.
Discriminatory acts may not be conducted by an employer against those that are considered members of a protected class. There are many classes that are protected by law including age, religion, gender and race, among others. An employer that has implemented policies or committed any acts that infringe upon the protections afforded to those in a protected class may face a legal claim from those that are negatively impacted.
Women have made significant strides in all aspects of life over the years, including the workplace. However, there are still instances where men and women are treated differently by their employers whether through differing pay scales, promotion criteria or performance expectations.
Employment discrimination can occur during the application and interview process, while an individual is employed or when an employee is terminated. Discrimination may have occurred if someone is not hired when he or she would otherwise be qualified, other than the individual's status in a protected class, if an employee is exposed to a hostile work environment or if he or she is demoted or terminated on the basis of a protected status.
It is a violation of federal and California law for an employer to discriminate against any employee who is a member of a protected class. Protected classes include race, religion, pregnancy and age, among many others. The legal prohibitions against age discrimination include the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prevents discrimination against applicants and employees who are age 40 and older.
When employees in Los Angeles believe that they have been discriminated against because of their race, religion, gender, national origin, age or disability, it is important that they understand their rights and options in this situation. Employees in California and elsewhere across the nation have options and rights afforded to them in these situations, such as filing a discrimination lawsuit against an employer.
A Los Angeles man has recently settled his lawsuit claiming wrongful termination against the upscale department store where he used to work. These types of lawsuits have become more prevalent in recent years as more and more victims of wrongful termination are stepping forward claiming their rights were violated. Constitutional rights or workplace rights can be violated in a way that a person can file a wrongful termination suit. In this case, the man alleged wrongful termination based on sexual orientation and religious discrimination.
Most say the greatest characteristic about the American people is our diversity -- our ability to be so different and yet so united. Most believe our differences make us stronger. However, there are still instances of religious discrimination in the workplace as seen in California's most recent report as listed in the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
It is important that employees working in California understand that their employers must take the appropriate action to ensure equality in the workplace. If an employer does not do this it can make the workplace uncomfortable for some employees and it may even expose the employer to legal liability under stated and federal employment laws.
California is an employment at will state. This means that any employee can be fired at any time for any reason. However, there is an exception to this rule -- the reason may not be illegal. When an employee is fired for a discriminatory reason it is illegal and, therefore, a wrongful termination. When an employee is wrongfully discharged, they may have a cause of action for recovery against their employer.