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What should I look for in a severance agreement?

Even when a San Diego employee knows that they are at the end of their tenure at their present job, getting let go is still an emotionally difficult experience for a variety of reasons. In addition to having to go through the embarrassment of being unemployed, a worker will also likely be doing some fast thinking to figure out how they will support themselves and their families.

Given this, it is no wonder that many employees do not think much about whether or not they should sign a severance agreement when their soon-to-be former employer offers one to them. They may even see such an agreement as a lifeline that will give them a little bit of extra money to get by while they look for another job.

City employee says she faced retaliation for following protocol

For some workers in San Diego, there is often a choice between following the law and doing what the employer wants. If the worker decides to adhere to the law, he or she runs the risk of facing some form of retaliation by the employer. That can even lead to dismissal. This is even worse when the employer is a government agency. When this happens, people might believe they have nowhere to turn. Fortunately, they have the right to seek compensation in a legal filing over the mistreatment on the part of their employers.

According to a recent report, a woman who worked as the head of the Public Records Department claims that the city exerted pressure on her to violate the law regarding the release of information following an outbreak of Hepatitis A. After she refused, she was dismissed. This came to light after she filed a wrongful termination lawsuit. The filing was made in late January and the California Public Records act allowed news agencies to see it. The woman had been a city employee for nearly two decades. In November of 2017, she was fired after documents were released revealing how the city responded to the outbreak of Hepatitis A. Hundreds of people needed hospitalization and 20 died.

Know what steps to take when reporting harassment at work

Although there is a national movement to report and stop harassing behaviors in the workplace, it remains an uphill climb in California to make certain that business owners, supervisors, fellow employees and others do not feel as if they can continue to harass people with no repercussions. Oftentimes, however, people are unaware of what steps to take when they believe they have become a victim of harassment. There are basics that a person who was victimized should remember to ensure that a complaint has a good chance of success.

The percentage of workers who assert they have faced sexual harassment and kept it to themselves rather than tell those at work who have the power to put a stop to it is significant. A survey by CareerBuilder puts the number who were harassed and failed to inform their employer at 72 percent. In addition, 75 percent of people who reported the problem say that it was resolved. Those who are not sure of what to do to report these problems must bear certain facts in mind.

Woman files lawsuit claiming sexual harassment at Uber

An increasing number of people in California and across the nation are feeling emboldened in pursuing compensation after facing sexual harassment on the job. Because this problem is so prevalent and more people are speaking up about it, the behavior is no longer being tolerated as part of the workplace, with nothing that can be done about it. This issue is occurring in a variety of industries. Newer companies with a more relaxed culture seem to be prone to having people accused of these behaviors. Those who have been mistreated and sexually harassed must remember their rights to seek compensation in a lawsuit.

According to a recent report, a woman who worked for the ride-sharing company Uber has filed a lawsuit in California claiming that she was sexually harassed, racially discriminated against and did not receive equal pay as an employee. She was an employee at the company for more than three years until June of 2017. This comes after the company stated it would no longer have forced arbitration for people who have been sexually assaulted and harassed.

What is a noncompetition clause?

Imagine being offered a new and exciting job. But, the employer requires a California employment contract, a lengthy document, written by lawyers, with various clauses. And, one of these clauses is a noncompetition clause. However, before signing one should understand what a noncompetition clause means.

The interesting thing about a noncompetition clause, or a non-compete agreement, is that many employers include this type of clause in employment contract. Though, it does not usually take effect until after the employer-employee relationship ends. In addition, although many employers try to incorporate these into employment contracts, noncompetition clauses are generally disfavored by the courts. In fact, courts generally closely scrutinize these clauses when challenged in a legal dispute.

What benefits is my employer required to provide?

As an employee, most people are probably aware that they have some very basic rights and if their employer violates these rights they may take legal action. However, if you are now, or have ever, searched for a job, you likely know that one of the very important factors to take into consideration is benefits. What benefits does your employer offer? What benefits are employers required by law to offer all of their employees?

These are very important questions to consider as an employee, and it is essential to understand what benefits you are entitled to so that you can hold an employer accountable if these benefits are not being properly provided. Whether you work for a small business or a large corporation, the law requires employers to carry at least the minimum required employee benefits. There are several mandates, such as the Affordable Care Act and ERISA, that lay out these requirements.

Fighting sexual harassment in Southern California

In this era of the "Me Too" movement, when once-beloved television and film icons are suffering the consequences of their patterns of sexual harassment, victims of such harassment are feeling more empowered and less fear about coming forward with their claims. However, there is still much work to be done. The public outcry against sexual harassment in general does not necessarily mean an employee feels comfortable about reporting incidences of harassment at their place of work.

The good news is, you have rights. The law protects you from both harassment and from retaliation for reporting harassment at your workplace. Therefore, you can feel safe that you can report workplace sexual harassment, put an end to it, and keep your job.

Should I sign a contract with an arbitration agreement?

When provided with an employment contract, it is common for employers to include an arbitration agreement in these contracts. So, if you have signed an employment contract recently, you may have agreed to this arbitration clause without even knowing it. So, what does it mean, and should you sign a contract with an arbitration agreement?

Arbitration agreements are commonly included in contracts by employers as the sole means for resolving any employment disputes that arise during the course of employment or termination. What it means if you sign an arbitration agreement is that you are essentially signing away your rights to pursue legal action against an employer in court, in the case of an employment dispute, such as discrimination or wrongful termination. Instead, you are agreeing to resolve this dispute though a process known as arbitration.

Ford ordered to pay out in ex-employee's discrimination lawsuit

Workplace discrimination remains more common then many people may think, but it is possible and important to hold employers accountable for these unlawful actions. Discrimination can take many forms and can include things like make racist or derogatory comments, treating employees of a certain class differently then other employees, to more outright discrimination such as passing someone over for a promotion or failing to give someone a raise because of their race, gender, age or other protected classification.

In a recent case out of Michigan, a former engineer for Ford brought, and won, a lawsuit based on workplace discrimination. This engineer claimed that the automaker, and particularly two supervisors, created a hostile work environment through discrimination based on the engineer's Arab background. After an eleven day trial, a jury found in favor of the engineer, determining that he was discriminated against based on his background and accent and that he was retaliated against and ultimately fired after he reported this discrimination.

The importance of whistleblower protections

"Whistleblowers" are employees who report violations of the law by their employers. The nature of the legal violations reported could be violations directed against the employee, such as if the employee has been the victim of sexual harassment, as discussed recently on this blog, or a violation of other laws, such as environmental regulations that apply to the activities of the company the employee works for.

Both federal and many state laws, as well as common law, provide whistleblower protections when the employee is reporting a violation of the law or filing a claim. Whistleblower protections prevent the employee from being retaliated against. Employees who believe they have been retaliated against must bring a complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and have 30 days to do so from the time of the retaliatory action.