Wednesday, March 4, 2015

“Ban the Box” Law Takes Effect in California

There are a lot of individuals with criminal records who find it difficult to land themselves jobs. More often than not, prospective employers turn the other way, refusing to hire such people who deserve a second chance in life. Fortunately in California, a new law took effect last July 1, which basically removed a certain “box” indicated on the job applicant forms. In this new legislation, no longer will an applicant be able to answer if he or she has had a criminal record.

Assembly Bill 218, which was passed into law October 10 last year and proposed by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento), was implemented alongside the new California minimum wage hike of $9.00 per hour. AB 218 provides that it is no longer allowed for state and local government employers to ask applicants about their criminal records.

Public agencies covered by this law, however, can still inquire about applicants’ convictions, as long as they do so later on in the hiring process. Employers must first determine if the applicants meet the qualifications of the jobs they’re applying for.

Also noted here in this new California law is that there are exemptions for job applications requiring a criminal background check; for instance, job openings in criminal justice (e.g. police officer jobs) is exempted. Also, the “state or local government agency” that is defined under the law doesn’t include school district or community colleges.

Although AB 218 applies for employers within the public sector, a lot of local governments across California, from certain counties to cities, have applied certain fair hiring practices by going beyond what the new law requires. For instance, the counties of Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, and Santa Clara; and the cities of Oakland, Anaheim, San Diego, San Jose, and Fresno, recognized that their local government agencies must delay asking applicants about their criminal history until they make a conditional offer of employment.

Additionally, the City of San Francisco’s “ban the box” ordinance extends coverage to not just public sector employers, but also for the private ones with 20 or more employees. The provisions are the same as that of AB 218, but the ordinance also prevents employers from seeking applicants’ criminal background until after the first “live” interview has taken place.

Meanwhile, according to a Los Angeles employment lawyer, only 12 states have had the same “ban the box” measures across the United States. Of the 12, only four applies for the private sector of employment—Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Rhode Island. The attorney also added that California’s new law enables former criminal offenders to be fairly included again in employment, especially during the hiring process.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Workplace Discrimination: Why They Are Still Rampant Today

According to the Charge Statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a total of 93,727 claims of discrimination were filed all over the country during fiscal year 2013. The figure, while significantly lower than the one from the previous fiscal year, only demonstrates how workplace discrimination is still rampant across private and public employment in the United States. This is despite the federal and state laws and statutes that are currently enforced to stop it from happening, such as the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

So why is discrimination in the workplace rampant in the first place? There are a lot of reasons, and they are listed down below:

  • Failure of a company or employer to implement programs that would train all employees about its existing anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and procedures. 
An employer or company’s non-tolerance to discrimination or harassment is demonstrated through its strong policies and procedures that allow management and employees to work together to solve such issues. On one hand, employees are encouraged to file their complaints whenever they are subjected to discriminatory or harassing actions. On the other hand, company management that put into effect such policies must be able to address the employees’ complaints, strictly following a process of investigation that hinges on confidentiality and executing the most necessary disciplinary action.

However, the lack of mandatory training programs that are supposed to help all employees understand that discrimination or harassment is not tolerated in the company or workplace is the reason why these issues are rampant. It would have helped if such programs encapsulate a preventive approach on such issues and emphasize professionalism within the workplace, but if there is no definite training program that exists, discriminatory and harassing behavior would surely reign supreme.

  • Fear.
    This emotion means a whole lot when discussing discrimination. In fact, this emotion is the reason why harassing and discriminatory behavior continue to persist in the workplace. Employees who are victims of such actions are still encouraged to file their complaints, but they refuse to do so out of fear of getting terminated or retaliated against by their bosses, supervisors, or managers. With fear of reporting such behavior, no paper trail is left behind to start off the investigation and eventually punish the perpetrators. The behaviors worsen with no chance of stopping it; all because of fear.
  • Differences between the young and old in the workplace.
    A mishmash of young and old in the workplace is as diverse as it can get, wherein different ideas can make for innovative business ideas. But then again, the clashing of generations may sometimes turn out to bring more bad than good. With differences in perspectives and worldviews, the younger generation may have prejudice against the other, and vice versa.

Even with these unsettling reasons as to why discrimination or harassment continuously occurs in the workplace, employees must always be aware that there are laws on the federal and state levels that protect them from being on the receiving end of unfair bias and treatment. Meanwhile, if you have been discriminated on account of your race, sex, disability, or any other protected characteristic, then it is imperative that you exercise your rights as soon as possible by speaking with a Los Angeles employment lawyer.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Calls for Federal Minimum Wage Increase Intensifies

Times have certainly been tough of late and more and more people are having a hard time making both ends meet as their wages aren’t enough to cover their day-to-day expenses. Such left a lot of people with very little chance to have a decent living. These people are forced to find other alternative sources of income to cover such expenses. This is the reality that most minimum wage earning families face every day. These families deal with these hurdles every day, hoping and wish  ing that they would soon be able to get more from the hard work that they put in their jobs. Some of these families are even being taken advantage of by their employers where they aren’t given the proper wages, a clear violation of employment laws in the country.

In just a few days from now, the US Congress will soon be convening to tackle on national issues and draft new laws or amend existing laws that have parts or provisions that need changing. One of those laws that badly need to be amended is the fedaeral minimum wage law. Currently, the federal minimum wage law is way below most of its state counterparts. That is why there is a growing clamor for the amendment of this law soon.

Even US President Barack Obama has made a position and is in favor increasing the federal minimum wage to help alleviate the hardships of American workers regardless of where they may be. No state is exempted from the effects of inflation that is why the increases in minimum wage should be done on a federal level. A number of state leaders and members of the Congress have already realized the importance of such legislation and are doing whatever it is that they can to increase the minimum wages. However, there’s very little movement in the congress to mobilize such amendments to existing laws.

The state of California has one of the highest minimum wages implemented in the country today. However, an employment law attorney in Los Angeles believes that a nationwide, federal minimum wage adjustment is in order. This, he believes, will provide a level playing field. Also, this would enable workers from other states to receive a fair compensation to help them with their financial needs. Alleviating the hardships that minimum wage earners face every day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sexual Harassment Cases Involving Model Celebrities

Fame doesn’t have the capacity to administer shield against sexual harassments. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of celebrities who had been a victim of this specific unlawful action. Also, aside from the aggrieved personalities, there are also some from them who has been accused for sexual assaults. Sexual harassments could be experienced by all people including these “stars”. Unwanted physical contacts, sexual innuendoes and commentaries, disturbing sexually explicit questions, and other unpleasant inviting actions are considered as forms of this kind of harassment.

In particular, model celebrities are the ones who are at most danger to sexual harassment instances while at work. According to statistics that were released by a concerned organization of models nearly 1 in 3 girls or 29.7% have experienced inappropriate touching at work while over a quarter or 28% have encountered pressures or unpleasant invitations to engage in sexual intercourse at work. In addition, 86.8% of models have been asked to pose nude without prior notice. As a result, over two-thirds of models or 68.3% suffer from anxiety or depression.

Meanwhile, one of the sexual harassment cases involving a well-known celebrity photographer and some models is Terry Richardson’s. He has been famous for often doing sexually explicit work and portraits of celebrities. Throughout his career as a photographer, Richardson had received accusations from some models that he had a chance to work with. The allegations generally pertain to inappropriate sexual conduct that was displayed by him at work for decades. This can be considered as big news.

Aside from the abovementioned case, several sexual harassment cases affecting female models were also recorded. Indeed, female model celebrities are more prone to experiencing different kinds of discrimination and not merely sexual harassment instances alone. However, this particular type of unlawful action does not only deal with female model workers. Although they are more prone to such conflicts, male model workers could also suffer from this type of nuisances.

Male models are also subjected to sexual harassments at work

The society tends to forget that males can also experience sexual harassments. As a matter of fact, male model celebrities suffer such unlawful actions aside from the other unjust incidents that are being laid towards them. An increasing statistics of sexually harassed workers, particularly the male models, have been a terrible fact.

As a matter of fact, based on a research conducted by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in year 2009, a dismaying quantity of almost 12,700 sexual harassment lawsuits were filed to them. The research also states that 16 percent of the victims came from men. Also, even if they found out that there is a positive decrease with regards to the cases of sexual harassment incidents, the declining changes does not infect the rising statistics of this type of unjust practices towards men over the years. Truly, male workers are not exempted to suffering sexual harassments.

Regardless of the gender and classification of work, all sexually harassed workforces should take the necessary legal actions to get the most appropriate justice for their related sufferings and also to claim the rightful compensation based on what they had experienced. Everyone should not belittle the power of all damages which are sent by sexual harassment incidents.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Right Way to File a Workplace Discrimination Claim or Case

Everybody is unique. People have different color, race, religion, capabilities, age, and gender. These differences, make each and every one different. However, these difference should never define one’s capability and person. However, despite this, many people believe otherwise and continue to look down and discriminate against others.  If you feel violate, harassed and abused on the basis of age, sex, race, national origin sex, and genetic information, or have been retaliated to by your employer because of your participation in an investigation or trial of case of discrimination, you can file a complaint against the latter.

Filing a Discrimination Complaint
Being a victim of workplace discrimination is not at all easy. Filing a claim is even more difficult. It is a strenuous phase that not a lot of people are willing to experience. However, you must realize that you need to stand up for the rights that were guaranteed by the country’s federal laws. First and foremost, you must file a charge to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You will then get a “Notice-of-Right-to-Sue” should the EEOC dismiss the claim. After receiving that notice, you can file a lawsuit in a court of law. Charges should be filed within 90 days. Failure to file the claim within that period will invalidate your claim. So you have to make sure that you file the claim as soon as you can so your claims will progress.

Things to Remember When Filing a Lawsuit While the EEOC Investigations are On-going
For Age discrimination charges, you can file the claim even before you received the notice of Right-to-sue. However, you may only file the claim within the 180 days or a notice of the investigation of your claim. You must remember though that asking for a notice to sue will automatically make the EEOC dismiss the case.

Filing a Lawsuit
Ultimately, filing a lawsuit is your last resort in seeking justice for the acts of employment discrimination that you experienced. That is why it is best that you exhaust all efforts with the help of the EEOC first before resorting to this costly and strenuous legal action. In doing so, you must seek the help of a good and experienced Los Angeles employment discrimination law attorney to help you weigh and figure things out. Such could help you better evaluate your chances and identify the strengths and weaknesses of your claims. This will definitely help you make the right decision in utilizing legal remedies for your situation.

Asking for the Help of a Good Lawyer
Such complicated legal remedies may be hard to understand. That is why it matters to have the advice of the best employment law attorney in Los Angeles that you can find. This way, you won’t end up making decisions that you will be regretting soon. Take time (while still thinking about the statutes for filing such lawsuits) and carefully assess your situation with your lawyer. Should you decide to go and file a claim, make sure that you prepare well by getting all of the pieces of evidence needed, as well as witnesses to back up your claims. These things will help ensure that you get justice for what has happened to you, while protecting other potential victims of abuse.

Nobody deserves to be treated like a second class citizen, or a slave. So stand up for your rights and never let anybody take advantage of you.