We are entitled to fair treatment when working and pursuing work. It is not always clear to us what our rights are in every situation, but they exist. A San Clarita employment lawyer is a perfect guide for anyone seeking to exercise their rights as a worker in California. California labor and employment laws exist to protect employees’ interests, but they can be difficult to understand. Nowadays, it is essential to have reliable employment, and employers or managers compromising the safety of the workplace is the last thing employees need.
You must understand what you can do to fight back against employer misconduct. Employers may have authority over your work, but they do not have power over your life and legally cannot create a toxic, hostile work environment. Protect your rights by working with a lawyer familiar with California labor law. Do not be afraid to take legal action if you suspect your employer is infringing on your rights.
Discrimination, Harassment, and Wrongful Termination
Some of the most common ways employers violate their workers’ rights are through discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination. Discrimination is the unfair treatment of anyone at the workplace based on race, national origin, gender, age, disability, or any other protected characteristic. It usually presents as harassment from managers/supervisors, co-workers, or others in the workplace for these characteristics.
Harassment is discrimination that involves unwelcome conduct such as derogatory jokes, insults, and intolerant comments. Harassment must meet one of two conditions to be unlawful. Either you are forced to put up with the offensive treatment to remain employed, or the behavior is severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile or abusive work environment.
California is an at-will state, meaning that either the employer or the employee may terminate the employment for any reason at any time. While this law is meant to work both ways and benefit both parties, many people worry that this could mean their employer can fire them at any time for whatever reason. However, this is inaccurate. There are limitations to at-will employment. Most importantly, you cannot be fired based on your protected characteristics. This would be discriminatory and therefore illegal.
How to Handle Workplace Misconduct in Santa Clarita, CA
When confronted with misconduct from an employer, a manager, or another worker, it can be difficult to determine what to do in response. It may not be apparent what the best course of action is. Your next steps should be based on the type of misconduct you experienced.
For employers who are not addressing safety hazards in your workplace correctly, you can request an inspection by compliance safety and health officers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). Victims of discrimination or harassment can follow their company’s policies for reporting such behavior. Their policy should be readily available in your employee handbook and will likely involve steps on reporting the incident. If it is not addressed, it may be beneficial to seek counsel with an employment lawyer in San Clarita, CA to discuss your legal options.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is critical for people who have been injured on the job. In the case of wrongful termination, a lawsuit can either reinstate the dismissed employee to their position or compensate them for the wages they could have received.
Regardless of the form of misconduct you experienced, you should consider your options for recourse and act quickly. It is important to know what laws and which rights are being violated. You should also document and keep track of any evidence of the misconduct, such as reports, emails, videos, or anything else that would strengthen your case should you choose to pursue legal action.
Federal Government Support for Workers’ Rights
While businesses and employers wield great power, employees can strike back if necessary. Federal laws and agencies have been established to address employment-related issues or hold employers accountable for their indiscretions. These federal agencies and acts are valuable resources for dealing with any issue that may arise in the workplace.
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
The DOL is responsible for enforcing labor laws. Businesses who violate regulations in areas like safety and health, minimum wage and overtime pay, workers’ compensation, child labor rules, and more might face heavy penalties and even jail time.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The EEOC enforces anti-discrimination laws and investigates employee discrimination complaints. If the employer is found guilty, the EEOC typically penalizes them by requiring them to pay compensatory and punitive damages.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
The FLSA regulates minimum wages, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor for full-time and part-time employees in the private sector and all levels of the government. Under this Act, the Wage and Hour Division of the DOL addresses issues like inaccurate wage or overtime compensation.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The FMLA requires employers to provide unpaid leave to eligible employees. They also investigate employee complaints where the investigator will look through the employer’s FMLA-related records. Their penalties include paying fees, compensating lost wages with added interest, and reinstating the employee’s job if he or she was wrongfully terminated.
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
OSHA requires all employers to maintain a safe work environment for their staff. The laws under OSHA include restrictions on hazardous equipment and chemicals as well as unsafe work conditions. OSHA will investigate employee complaints and inspect workplaces for any labor law violations.
Find Out More about Your Legal Options and Rights in California by Contacting an Experienced San Clarita Employment Lawyer
There is nothing more empowering than knowing your rights and exercising them effectively. Exercising your rights is one of the best ways to hold your employer accountable and keep your workplace a safe environment. At Blackstone Law, we are equipped to empower you. Our staff is composed of leading employment and labor attorneys, all ready to help you understand your rights and the best options for your case.
Proudly we will provide you with an award-winning legal representation to defend your rights and fight for the justice that you deserve. To learn more about workers’ rights in California, call us at (310) 956-4054 or fill out our online contact form.