Everyone has a bad day at work once in a while. For some, the disappointments and frustrations come from the work itself, but sometimes, a person can experience one long nightmare if California employers or co-workers make the workplace hostile. Most people have a threshold for how much harassment, discrimination or retaliation they can take, but they may feel they have few choices. However, in some situations, quitting a job may be considered wrongful termination.
Finding the right job is not easy these days. A job must fit a person's skills and knowledge, pay a living wage and provide adequate benefits for one's situation. When a job like this becomes available in California, a candidate who feels qualified for the position may hurry to apply. To be turned down for such an opportunity can be devastating, especially if the reasons have to do with discrimination.
For many years, strong women in Hollywood have called for more equality in the motion picture industry. Fans in California may have assumed the equality female actors sought was limited to acting, directing and pay. However, recently, it is becoming clear that the women in Hollywood were likely also talking about the way they were treated by more powerful people in the industry. As once-admired and respected men are named as part of an apparently widely accepted policy of sexual harassment, more people are calling for drastic changes in the industry.
It seems that sexual harassment on the job is becoming an all-too-familiar story as more people reveal abuses from supervisors and others with power. Hearing these claims made public has given many the courage to stand up for fair treatment at work. California workers who speak up certainly hope for universal changes in the hostile environments that exist for vulnerable workers.
It seems like every week a story breaks of a famous or powerful person facing accusations of sexual harassment on the job. Often, the defense a California company uses when such accusations are made public is that there had been no complaints against the accuser up to that point. This may be true, but often the reason is that employees are afraid of facing retaliation if they bring their complaints to the human resources department.
Most people in California would agree that racial relations have improved since the 1960s. Many may even point to the recent election of black president as evidence that the country is on the right track. However, for many people of color, the last quarter century has brought few changes.
It is not uncommon for the owner or manager of a California business to set the tone for the way people are treated within the establishment. An owner who treats his or her employees with respect and dignity may find that those workers share that respect and perpetuate the behavior. On the other hand, when employers abuse or objectify their staff members, they may inadvertently permit others to do the same, creating a hostile atmosphere. The owner of a posh restaurant in another state is currently under fire for establishing an atmosphere that encouraged sexual harassment.
Federal laws require employers to make reasonable accommodations for workers with special circumstances, such as health issues or religious beliefs. When California employers refuse to make those accommodations, the worker may have a case for discrimination. Recently, a woman in another state contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission when her new employer refused to make adjustments to the company's dress code to accommodate the woman's religious beliefs.
Mothers in California and across the country are protected at the federal level from workplace discrimination through the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Affordable Care Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. These areas of employment law provide unpaid leave for a woman having a baby, as well as requiring employers to provide a sanitary place for nursing, and reasonable accommodations for pregnant and nursing mothers. However, many women feel their bosses do not provide these accommodations, and they even face retaliation for complaining about the discrimination.
There are few in California who have not heard of the devastation in other parts of the country as a result of the hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires. The news provides shocking images of communities and families devastated by the destruction, and many wonder how the victims will carry on. In some cases, homeowners struggle to figure out how to manage the cleanup and to help affected family members and still get to their jobs to earn money to support their families. Will the Family and Medical Leave Act, known as FMLA, cover this?