Employees have certain rights in the workplace that are protected by federal and state laws. Unfortunately, violations of these rights are widespread. As an employment lawyer in Los Angeles, I frequently see clients who have experienced discrimination, harassment, wage theft, or other unfair treatment at work.
I aim to guide these Employee Rights Violations on effectively addressing the violations they’ve encountered.
Types of Employee Rights Violations in Los Angeles
There are several categories of rights violations that we commonly encounter. As a seasoned Los Angeles employment lawyer, understanding how the law categorizes each employee rights violation helps in creating a case during trial. :
Getting fired without a legitimate reason is illegal. Employers cannot terminate workers because of their race, gender, age over 40, disability, religion, or in retaliation for whistleblowing or taking family medical leave.
Wrongful termination can take various forms, including:
- Being fired for discriminatory reasons based on protected characteristics like race, gender, or disability. This includes targeting minorities for harsher discipline than their peers.
- Getting fired for refusing to comply with an employer’s directive to do something illegal. This is retaliation against whistleblowers.
- Losing your job for taking leave that is protected by law, such as FMLA or CFRA medical leave, pregnancy leave, or leave for military service.
- Being laid off without proper notice is required by federal or state WARN laws.
- Having employment ended for reporting OSHA violations concerning workplace safety or health hazards.
Wrongful termination violates statutes like Title VII, ADA, FMLA, and state laws. Employee Rights Violations may challenge unjust firings through complaints and lawsuits. Damages like back pay and reinstatement may be won.
Workplace discrimination manifests in hiring, pay, promotions, assignments, training, discipline, and firing. Federal law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age over 40, disability, pregnancy, and genetic information. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC received 73,485 total charges in 2022 alone.
Harassment becomes illegal when it creates a hostile work environment. This includes offensive verbal or physical conduct, especially sexual harassment. In 2021, sexual harassment charges made up nearly one-third of all harassment claims.
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Wage and Hour Violations
These include failing to pay minimum wage or overtime, manipulating timecards, and denying meal and rest breaks. Wage theft robs workers of billions per year. Labor laws protect employees.
Punishing workers for exercising their rights, such as by reporting violations or discrimination, is illegal. Retaliation charges comprised [56% of all EEOC claims in 2021](https://www.eeoc.gov/newsroom/eeoc-releases-fiscal-year-2021-enforcement-and-litigation-data), making it the most common issue.
Legal Protections for Employees in California
A network of laws at the federal and state levels safeguards workplace rights. Key statutes include:
- Federal Labor Standards Act (wage, overtime, child labor laws)
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (discrimination)
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Family Medical Leave Act
- OSHA (safety)
- California Fair Employment and Housing Act
- California Family Rights Act
- California Labor Code
The EEOC and California Department of Fair Employment and Housing enforce these laws by investigating charges and bringing lawsuits. However, only certain cases resulted in favorable outcomes for charging parties in 2021, so additional action is usually necessary.
What To Do if Your Rights Are Violated at Work
If you experience violations, taking prompt action is key:
Keep detailed records, such as a diary of incidents, emails, texts, evaluations, and witnesses. Documentation is crucial.
Notify your employer, like HR, management, or legal counsel. However, no action may result, or you could face retaliation.
Consult an Employment Attorney
An expert LA employment lawyer can advise if your rights were violated and the best actions to remedy the situation. Lawyers also represent workers in claims. Finding the right lawyer for your case can be a daunting task. Selecting an attorney with the appropriate expertise can significantly benefit your case in the long term.
File an Administrative Charge
Charges with the EEOC or California DFEH start investigations into unlawful practices. The deadline is 300 days from the violation.
File a Lawsuit
If internal reporting and administrative charges don’t resolve violations, a lawsuit may be the next step. Lawsuits can result in policy changes or monetary damages. An average of 2 billion dollars was recovered from employers.
Preventing Violations as an Employer
Employers should take proactive measures to avoid violations:
- Provide regular training on policies and legal requirements
- Implement clear, robust anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies
- Offer reporting procedures that protect whistleblowers
- Conduct unbiased investigations into claims
- Impose proportionate discipline for policy violations
- Audit pay and promotion practices to ensure equity
- Precisely record hours worked and ensure compliance with mandated break policies
Fostering a respectful, inclusive workplace culture can help prevent issues from developing. It is also wise to seek guidance from employment lawyers to ensure full legal compliance.
Violations of workplace rights can have detrimental effects on Employee Rights Violations morale, retention, and productivity. It also exposes companies to costly litigation and government penalties. Safeguarding these rights is advantageous for both employees and a company’s financial health.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What should I do if I am harassed at work?
Keep records and report them immediately per company policy. If the harassment continues, file a charge with the DFEH or EEOC. An attorney can aid in the process and represent you in legal action if needed.
Can my employer fire me for making a discrimination complaint?
No, firing you for complaining would be illegal retaliation. Notify HR in writing to oppose retaliation. Talk to a lawyer, as firing shortly after complaining creates an inference of retaliation.
What violations of my rights can I sue over?
You can file lawsuits over discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, wage violations, whistleblower retaliation, and certain other clear violations. An attorney can analyze your situation and counsel you on the possibility of a lawsuit.
As an employment lawyer assisting clients in the Los Angeles area, I see first-hand how violations of workplace rights harm employees. However, understanding where to turn for help and taking action can remedy these troubling situations. Don’t hesitate to contact an attorney to explore your options if you feel your employer has infringed upon your protected rights. Together, we can work towards justice in your case and greater respect for employee rights.
Establishing widespread awareness of the rights afforded to every worker under the law is the initial step. From there, we must empower victims of violations to stand up and have. Their grievances addressed, whether internally or through legal channels. At the same time, employers should critically examine their own practices to ensure full compliance. Creating a fair, lawful workplace that values every employee is possible – but it will take persistence and solidarity. I invite you to join me in working towards that goal.