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San Francisco Employment Law Blog

What is the Family Sick Leave Law in California?

The Family Sick Leave Law was introduced in 2000, and gives employees the right to take paid sick leave in order to care for a sick family member, most typically their child.

It requires that every employer who offers paid sick leave to his or her employees must allow them to use up to 50 percent of their yearly sick leave for these purposes without question.

Taking appropriate action against sexual harassment

Unfortunately is extremely common for people both in professional and personal contexts to be subject to unwelcome sexual advances. This could be in subtle forms, such as unwelcome compliments in the office, or in much more unsettling ways, such as a manager attempting to engage in sexual activity.

It's very common for a person to feel ashamed or embarrassed by sexual harassment, and therefore, reluctant to come forward and take action. Similarly, many people feel as though they may be making a big fuss out of nothing. If they were affected by the act, then this is simply not the case.

Dealing with a comment that offends you at work

When working in any office environment, it is likely that you will come across a time that you are offended by a comment made; either about you or a general statement about a religion, race, sex or nationality. Going through an experience like this can make you feel deeply offended and troubled by the environment that you work in. At the same time, you might feel worried about making a complaint about such an event, fearing retaliation.

When you are faced with a situation like this, you should first of all consider the situation in context. Was it a statement that revealed a deeper issue such as racial hatred that you think needs to be addressed? You should consider what the cost of not speaking up could be. Perhaps ignoring a troubling situation could be indirectly permitting discriminatory behavior.

Common questions on your employment rights

As an employee, there are so many rules and regulations that might leave you confused in regard to what your rights are. The following blog provides a brief overview into some of the most common questions that are asked by employees about issues regarding what happens after you have left the company, and what to do if you believe you have been wrongfully terminated.

Can I get a reference from my employer even if I have been fired?

Are you a victim of subtle disability discrimination?

If you are a California worker with a qualifying physical or mental disability, you have many different laws on your side. You are protected in certain important ways by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other laws.

However, just because something is written into law doesn’t automatically mean that every company is aware of it or will abide by it. Here are a few questions to ask to learn whether you may possibly be a victim of subtle disability discrimination:

How does California function as an at-will state?

Like many other states in the country, California laws state that employers can fire their staff "at-will". In other words, they can fire one of their employees without needing to give a reason. But many people think that if a state has "at-will" laws, then they as employees do not have any rights or opportunity for legal action when they have been fired. This could not be further from the truth.

What is wrongful termination?

Defining pregnancy discrimination at work

Announcing a pregnancy in the workplace should be something to celebrate and enjoy, but unfortunately for many women, it can become something that they dread, since they begin to worry that their pregnancy may lead to diminished career prospects or other negative treatment.

Women are protected from any discriminatory treatment such as this by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. This prevents employers from engaging in discriminatory treatment, for example demoting an employee or firing an employee because of her pregnancy.

Common examples of employment discrimination

There are times when we might feel disappointment because we didn't get the job we wanted, if another colleague got chosen for a promotion instead of us or offended that our idea was not taken seriously in a meeting. Although instances like these are simply a fact of life, there can be times when we are treated unfairly and discriminated against. In short, there might be times at work where we are not judged by our merits but instead by an irrelevant factor such as our sex, race or disability.

When decisions are made about us in the workplace that are not based on fairness, such as if we are denied a job because of the color of our skin, this constitutes workplace discrimination. There are several protected characteristics that makes it illegal for an employer or another person in a workplace to make disadvantageous decisions based on those characteristics. These include a person's age, race, gender, disability whether physical or mental, nationality or pregnancy.

The difference between sexual and nonsexual harassment

When feeling intimidated, embarrassed or pressured by someone at work, it can feel terrible. But while trying to figure out the best way to deal with the situation, you may also wonder if you are making a big deal out of the situation. When feeling embarrassed about an event, it is likely that you would prefer not to raise any more awareness of the situation to others.

You might also be wondering whether what happened could be considered sexual harassment or nonsexual harassment. The two terms are often difficult to distinguish between. Harassment in general in the workplace is defined as any type of behavior that creates a hostile working environment.

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