In California, everyone knows at least one person who works for a startup company. Of course, we hear about the perks of working at these trendy companies: stock options, a celebrity chef on staff, nap pods, meetings on trampolines, and a chauffeur service. What we hear less of are the growing pains that come with these young, optimistic businesses.
Bullying has been trending on social media and in the news for years. The focus has been on young children through their teenage years and the impact that bullying has had in driving young people to suicide or developing significant mental health issues. Unfortunately for some, bullying doesn't end at high school and a surprising many people actually find themselves the victim bullying in the workplace. And the impact of bullying can be just as devastating as an adult.
The difference between right and wrong. It is something that we've been taught since we were toddlers. As we have grown to adulthood, we've aspired to be our best and to live right. Part of that is making hard choices of staying silent or speaking up when we see wrongdoing. This is a common and terrifying prospect in the workplace.
Living with a disability comes with challenges; however, it does not take away a person's desire or need to work for a living. In fact, both national and state laws provide persons with qualifying physical or mental disabilities with legal safeguards against discrimination. In addition, disabled persons are also entitled to access and accommodations.
Discrimination is a very real and very serious problem for people who have been identified in a protected class under state and federal laws. California happens to have one of the most expansive sets of protected classes, which include unlawful discrimination based on race, nationality, age, disability, sex, sexual identification, military service, and status as a domestic violence victim (to name a few).
It seems that every single day, we hear allegations of sexual harassment against a new celebrity or politician. Many have had their day of reckoning and the people of the #metoo movement have been named Time Magazine's Person of the Year. Unfortunately, whether this powerful movement will truly have an impact on everyday people remains to be seen. If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, please read the following.
Military service honors this country, preserves our liberty, and deserves respect. In fact, when a service member is deployed or completes their service, she or he should return with the comfort of knowing that they have their civilian job to come back to. Simply put, employers should not be allowed to benefit from a service member's hard work and sacrifice, only to shaft them when they return to civilian work. Not only is this a matter of right and wrong, it is the law.
When you screw up at work, you expect to experience consequences. This is simply a matter of fairness, as employers should have the ability to hold employees accountable. However, there are rules that employers are required to follow when it comes to employee discipline, and I have seen many instances of employers acting unlawfully when doling out punishment.
When you have proudly served this Nation, you deserve respect. Employers who discriminate against service members not only violate the law, but they offend us. Unfortunately, this has been a very real problem for veterans. In fact, there are numerous Federal and State laws that exist to protect service members from employer discrimination.
When you chose a career as a barber or hair stylist, you did so because the work appeals to you and because you have bills to pay. Unfortunately, there are employers who will take advantage of employees who don't know the law. The California Senate has recently passed a law to protect barbers, cosmetologists, estheticians, manicurists, and electrologists in one area where they can get ripped off: commissions.
In California, people with disabilities are in a protected class of persons. This means that if you are qualified and able to work, an employer is prohibited from discriminating against you and must make "reasonable accommodations" so that you can work with your disability. Analogous to this is drug addiction, which is a terrible disease that often requires some form of intensive substance abuse treatment. Unfortunately, there is a legitimate balance between an employee's right to privacy versus an employer's right to employ effective, safe employees.
If you work for a California employer, consider yourself fortunate. This state has some of the most employee-protective laws in the entire country. Unfortunately, a lot of employees are completely unaware of many of their legal rights, and employers take full advantage of this. For informational purposes, I would like to provide an overview of some of the latest employment laws that the California legislature has enacted.