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Sacramento Employment Legal Blog

Traumatic event leads to discrimination and wrongful termination

The diagnosis of a disabling condition often means someone is struggling with normal routines. This may include household tasks and work-related duties. Fortunately, the law protects workers from wrongful termination due to disabilities, and California employers must abide by these laws by making reasonable accommodations for workers who suffer from certain conditions.

One woman in another state was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following a traumatic incident on the job. As a 911 dispatcher, the woman took a call from a man who told her he had shot someone. The caller killed himself while still on the phone but not before revealing that the man he had shot was the dispatcher's brother.

Should I accept a severance offer from an employer?

There are a variety of reasons that an employee or former employee may receive a severance package offer. In some cases, the severance is simply outlined in an employee's employment contract, while in other instances the severance offer comes as a part of a completed termination, as an employer attempts to protect oneself from the fallout of a faulty firing.

If you recently experienced an unfair firing and now find your former employer offering you a severance package, you're in a very delicate position. Depending on the nature of your dispute with your former employer, you may have a number of opportunities to negotiate more favorable terms in the severance offer and stand up for the rights of employees all around the country.

Wrongful termination does occur in California

You count on your job to pay your bills and live your life. What you probably didn't count on was being let go because of something you never should have been fired over.

One thing that you have to remember when this happens is that California is an at-will employment state. This means that employers don't need a reason to let you go; however, it doesn't mean that they can fire you for an illegal reason.

Delta faces allegations of discrimination

California travelers may use Delta Air Lines to reach their destinations. However, Delta now has more than its reputation on the line in light of recent complaints filed by four flight attendants. Two of the flight attendants claim they were subjected to hostile working conditions and discrimination because they are Jewish. The other two report similar discriminatory behavior, which they believe resulted from their association with other Jewish people. Though Delta strongly denies the claims, they will have to answer them in civil court.

The lawsuit filed by the flight attendants accuses the management of the airline of harboring prejudicial assumptions that Jewish people are untrustworthy and behave inappropriately. This attitude apparently included ethnic Jews, those with Jewish ancestry and anyone from Israel, both employees and passengers. The lawsuit claims the management unjustly punished Jewish employees by refusing to promote them, harassing them and wrongfully terminating them.

6 tips for showing that age discrimination derailed your career

You worked for 30 years to build your career, starting when you were 22 and fresh out of college. Now you're in your fifties and you just got fired. It feels like everything you worked so hard for is gone, just like that.

Worse yet, you believe they fired you directly because of your age. Your industry tends to target young people, and they quickly hired a few new college graduates to replace you. They're doing the same job you were, so clearly the need and the money are still there. The company just wanted a young person to do it instead of you.

Worker claims retaliation cost him his job

In California, employment is at-will, meaning there does not have to be a reason for an employee to leave or an employer to fire a worker. An exception to this is when the employee has a contract that specifically stipulates the reasons for and methods of termination. Additionally, a manger cannot fire an employee as an act of retaliation. In another state, a worker who recently lost his job claims it was the result of just such retaliation.

The employee's duties at a local nursing home included supervising fire protection for the facility. He had been on the job for about three months and was living across the street from the home in a residence provided by the nursing home. On an afternoon when he was off duty, he watched as fire trucks responded to an alarm at the home and the staff evacuated patients from the facility. The man was allegedly horrified at the dangerous manner in which the evacuation was conducted, including leaving wheelchair-bound residents unattended in the middle of a parking lot.

Sexual harassment is about power

There may be few people in California who have not heard the growing reports of those claiming powerful people sexually harassed them on the job. Sexual harassment often begins with inappropriate comments but may escalate into dangerous situations. While such incidents are never the fault of the victim, there may be ways in which employees can prevent or stop the harassment before it creates an unbearable situation.

Asking management to clarify the policies for preventing and dealing with sexual harassment is one way an employee can assert power over a situation. These questions are appropriate during job interviews or while currently employed. Leadership sets the tone for employee behavior, and employees can demand strong leadership from their managers. If employees do not see their leaders making efforts to protect them from harassment, those employees may consider applying for the leadership roles themselves and being part of the change in environment.

Matt Lauer accusers feared retaliation

There are probably few in California and across the country who have not heard the startling news that Matt Lauer, long-time host of NBC's Today Show, was recently fired by the network. His sudden termination followed what NBC executives called credible allegations that Lauer committed sexual assault against at least one woman who formerly worked at the network. While the public and fans of the popular morning show may have been stunned, apparently the revelations would have come to light sooner if the accusers had not feared retaliation.

Several women report complaining to NBC executives of Lauer's inappropriate behavior, but the network denies any previous knowledge. Lauer was allegedly known for exerting his power around the network, and early reports of the scandal say his frequent trips for the network may have been used as opportunities to invite women staff members into his hotel room. Lauer also is alleged to have assaulted women in his office at the studio.

Ford Motor Company deals with sexual harassment

Workers at Ford Motor Company plants across the country will be seeing more of their group vice president of labor affairs and the vice president of Ford-UAW. These men are featured in a video that will play on a loop in Ford plants, warning employees of the company's stand on sexual harassment. Residents of California may applaud this effort, but for some, the actions may come too late.

The same day Ford released its 150-second video, news broke of a major sexual harassment scandal in a Ford plant in another state. The company had recently paid more than $10 million in discrimination and harassment lawsuits. To make it clear to its employees that this behavior is not condoned or tolerated, the company produced the video, which will play indefinitely on monitors in all U.S. plants.

Were you fired or wrongfully terminated?

Losing your job can be an overwhelming experience. Not only does it often come with feelings of shame and embarrassment, but it ultimately affects every area of your life. From paying your bills, keeping up with the mortgage on your California home, to purchasing food and other essentials for your family, you may have many questions and fears about the future. All of this may be compounded with the sense of injustice if the job loss was the result of a wrongful termination.

There are numerous reasons why an employer may let someone go, and often these are legitimate reasons. For example, if a worker is not meeting quotas, has committed a crime or is insubordinate, the employer may have every right to fire the employee. However, an employer can sometimes terminate a worker for illegal reasons, too.

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