Common Questions About Employment Law
The world of work makes the world go ’round.
This becomes clear for employers when they cannot find or keep qualified employees or must shut down because of road construction, weather disasters, epidemics or civil unrest. To prepare for challenges such as these, wise employers pay attention to employment laws and wise employees stay updated on their rights and responsibilities as workers.
This website contains a large collection of discussions, questions and answers about common employment law issues. Below we lay out some of the most frequently asked questions, and through links, we also direct your attention to related discussions on other pages of this website.
How can I stay in the know about my rights as an employee and about employers’ duties and how can I avoid trouble in my employment relationship(s)?
Good ways to stay informed include clear communications during hiring and training on the job; ensuring an understanding of wage and hour policies; following news items about changes in employment laws; keeping dialogues alive between managers and workers, and keeping a good attitude and doing the right things for one’s employees or one’s company or another employer.
What is illegal workplace discrimination?
This question is far and away one of the most vexing – and most common – questions that we answer regularly for our clients. In a nutshell, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 clarified that employers cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin. Other federal and state laws enacted since then have further indicated that employers in California also cannot discriminate on the basis of:
- Sex, sexual orientation or gender
- Pregnancy or the possibility of pregnancy
- Age (over 40)
- Veteran status
- Marital status
- Immigration status (with exceptions)
- Retaliation for filing a discrimination claim
What are reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities?
California’s government defines a reasonable accommodation as “a logical adjustment made to a job and/or the work environment that enables a qualified disabled person to perform the essential functions of that position.” Both employers’ and employees’ interests and rights are addressed in this definition. Employers and employees both have a duty to engage in good-faith interactive discussions about what kinds of accommodations may meet the criteria contained in this definition.
What is illegal sexual harassment on the job?
In the “#MeToo” era that we live in, this question is more critical than ever. California’s government defines sexual harassment succinctly based on state and federal laws as: “unwelcome sexual advances, or other visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature and actions that create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment based on an employee’s sex.”