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San Francisco Employment Law Blog

Recognizing workplace retaliation

When you show up to work each day, you have certain protected rights, and you may exercise these rights without having to fear that your employer or colleagues will treat you unjustly because you choose to do so. Protected rights take on many forms, but if your employer or coworkers treat you differently because you exercise any of them, they may be engaging in workplace retaliation.

Essentially, retaliation refers to any actions your employer, supervisors or colleagues make against you as a result of your exercising a protected right. Workplace retaliation is unlawful, and if you are a victim of it, you may be able to seek recourse.

It’s illegal for an employer to fire you if you’ve complained

As an employee, you have certain rights that are legally enforceable. However, if you do not know about these rights, as many do not, you will not be equipped with the knowledge that you need in order to take action.

Among these rights is your protection from whistleblower retaliation. This means that your employer is not allowed to punish you if you seek to improve a matter by making a complaint about something, whether externally or internally.

Knowing your rights after family leave

When you come back from some months on family leave after the birth of your child, it can be difficult to transition into working life. You may feel as though things are different in the office, or as though you are being punished for taking time off.

It is important that you understand the protections that are put in place by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). You may find that you can take action to improve your working conditions and your career.

What to do if your coworker is making you feel uncomfortable

Most people have an idea of what sexual harassment is in our heads, and it is usually quite an extreme vision. It might be rape, forceful touching or blackmail. Although these things do constitute sexual harassment, many people do not realize that acts like this are only the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of people throughout the country that have suffered sexual harassment that do not realize that legally, they can do something about it.

So, what is sexual harassment? In legal terms, it is any action or repeated action that can be interpreted as sexual in nature, and that creates a hostile environment in the workplace. This means that it affects your experience of the workplace in the long-term, in the sense that you feel uncomfortable working with that person, or start to fear certain social interactions in the workplace.

Understanding California's New Parent Leave Act

A new law regarding parental leave took effect in California at the beginning of this year that may help you form a stronger bond with your child. If your employer meets certain criteria, he or she must now allow you to take at least 12 weeks of parental leave within one year of you birthing, fostering or adopting a child.

Called the New Parent Leave Act, the bill asserts that eligible parties must receive 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for their new child without having to worry about losing their job or insurance while doing so.

Is obesity a protected class in discrimination laws?

When you have struggled with obesity or morbid obesity for many years, you get accustomed to the rude comments and stares. They still hurt, but you don’t let them affect your life. However, you probably never expected to lose your job due to obesity. If you lost your job or experienced a demotion due to your weight, you might wonder if the employer committed an illegal action.


Was your demotion due to sexual harassment?

When you are demoted at work, it can be a very disheartening experience. You may feel as though your skills are being underestimated, and your confidence is likely to take a hit. But many have reason to believe that their demotion was wrongful.

If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in the office, it is likely that you have refused advances of some kind from an employee or manager. You might feel that your demotion is somehow linked to the sexual harassment that you were victim to, whether or not you reported it initially. Here are some tips on what to do when you believe that your demotion was a wrongful one.

Was I discriminated against at work?

Discrimination happens in many different ways in the workplace. In general, it is not the actions that take place that are inherently wrong, for example, firing or demoting an employee, but it is the reasons for the actions that took place that can be considered illegal.

Employment discrimination is the act of treating an employee unfavorably purely because of a characteristic such as the color of his or her skin, race, religion or nationality. This protection extends to other characteristics such as whether they are pregnant or disabled.

Emojis Becoming A Perplexing Factor in Harassment Cases

Emojis are the cute, funny and sometimes confusing little images that many people use in social media, text messaging, chats or emails. Emoji images can sometimes be difficult to decipher. If you show a new emoji to 10 different people, you might get 10 different interpretations of its meaning.

Now imagine trying to apply that confusion to a harassment case where both parties have used emojis. It’s a growing difficulty that the courts are facing, and part of the reason why some companies have employee emoji policies, with guidelines regarding their use in communication with other employees.

Responding to job termination the right way

Losing a job can be a life-changing occurrence, both for the good and the bad. It can force you to examine your life and make positive changes for the future; however, it can also mean that you suffer financially, and that you are left with low self-esteem and insecurities as a result.

When you have been terminated from your job, you may begin to question whether this move was a legal one on behalf of your employer. You should also make sure that you know all of your rights as a terminated employee.

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