Los Angeles Employment Law and Civil Rights Law Blog

When a resignation may not be voluntary

When we think about when an employee resigns from a job, we generally think that the employee (for whatever reason) no longer wants to be in the company’s employ, and that such a decision is voluntary. However, the reality is that resigning may not always be voluntary. There may be internal pressures that compel an unwitting employee to leave “voluntarily” that are akin to constructive discharge.

The rejection of a Florida police officer’s purported resignation is an example of this. The U.S Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit found that the officer was essentially “targeted” for participating in constitutionally protected activities that drew the ire of his superiors, and the circumstances surrounding the officer’s letter of resignation called into question whether his resignation was voluntary at all. 

Ways to heal after being let go from your job

It is universally known that being fired from a job can be disheartening. For some, it can be a huge blow to one’s confidence. To others, it can be akin to the death of a loved one. Sometimes the employer has a nondiscriminatory reason for ending employment; other times pretext is the reason behind such an action. Regardless, the next job for a fired employee may have nothing to do with working for someone else.

This post will explain a few lessons that an employee should take to heart after being let go. 

Employers resist predictable scheduling rules

The work to create a reasonable living wage for food service workers and other low-wage laborers has fostered an incredible groundswell of support over the past few years. Through this, a number of cities in California have passed ordinances requiring a $15 minimum wage for workers.

But even with higher wages, having unpredictable schedules can be just as problematic for workers as wage violations. Imagine an employee who is expecting to work a five hour shift being told via text message an hour before they are scheduled to work that they won’t be needed. This essentially means that the worker would lose income that they were depending on to pay bills, buy food or meet other obligations. 

Are attitudes changing about employees on medicinal marijuana?

In a prior post, we highlighted the expectation that new recreational marijuana laws will not likely affect expectations that employees should be free of mood altering substances while at work. Essentially, employees could still face jeopardy if random drug tests found marijuana in their systems.

This reasoning could apply in pre-employment screenings and random drug tests required under a collective bargaining agreement. Given this backdrop, would employees be protected even if they have medical clearance from their physician to ingest marijuana to treat chronic conditions?

Court rejects government's request in wage bias probe

A recent decision by an administrative law judge may affect how future investigations may be conducted. As part of its investigation into pay discrimination claims, the Department of Labor sought information on nearly 25,000 employees, including birth dates, citizenship and visa information, salary and bonus compensation, as well as cell phone numbers and email addresses.

The Labor Department believed that Google was engaging in discriminatory pay practices by paying female employees significantly less than their male counterparts. Since Google is a government contractor, the Labor Department was growing increasingly concerned that the tech giant was violating federal anti-discrimination rules that apply to all companies that solicit business from the federal government. 

Employee allegedly fired for reporting racial bias

We may think that celebrities in general get an extra level of special treatment when they attend professional sporting events. After all, they can afford to  set courtside and bring entourages who spend money as well. However, we may not realize that certain celebrities may be treated differently because of their race.

This notion is manifested in a recent lawsuit filed against the Atlanta Hawks organization. A former security manager recently filed the suit after being terminated. The purported reasons (poor performance) is alleged to be pretext for the real reason for his firing: complaining about different standards for celebrity guests at Philips Arena.

The difference between harassment and disrespect

Just like there’s a thin line between love and hate (like the old Persuaders song suggests), there is also a thin line between harassment and disrespect. For the uninitiated, disrespect can come in many forms, such as malicious gossip, the silent treatment or raising one’s voice, as well as profane language.

Ultimately, disrespect revolves around the lack of civility among employees or the lack of respect for employees’ personal property or space. Disrespect can also involve a lack of respect for opposing viewpoints, as well as political and religious views. While this may sap morale and make the workplace tense or difficult, disrespect is generally not actionable. 

Should you be paid in your 'unpaid' internship?

The summer is an ideal time for college students to have internships with potential employers after college. While the experience is paramount for the student (and to the employer, to a certain extent) most of the internships offered are unpaid.

But are unpaid internships legal?

How to know if you're being sexually harassed

When we go to work, there are a number of concerns that can bring about stress. It could be a high-pressure environment, difficult personalities to manage, lofty expectations or financial problems. None of them should be the specter of sexual harassment.

Most people understand that state law  (as well as federal law) prohibits both sexual harassment and discriminatory treatment based on an employee’s sex. But recognizing illegal behavior may be easier said than done. Yes, crude jokes and overt touching are actionable offenses, but there may be other behaviors that may toe the line but not cross it. In these situations, an affected employee may be hesitant to come forward to complain; which begs the question: am I being sexually harassed?

When are you allowed a day off as an employee?

2017 is likely to be known as the year the “gig economy” finally became mainstream. This moniker essentially means that many people earn a living by stringing together a number of part-time jobs, or supplementing income from a full time job with a part-time job. With as many people making ends meet by working as baristas, part-time tutors and even Uber drivers, they may not take a day off each week.

It is not uncommon for part-time employees to be scheduled for several days in a row, or even a full week. But when an employee is scheduled to work more than six days in a row, this may run afoul of California’s “day of rest” rule. 

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