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CA labor lawyerSexual harassment has been a long-standing problem in the workforce. While federal and state employment laws are in place to protect victims against discriminatory actions, the #MeToo movement has helped to call attention to the ongoing problem. In Santa Clara County and throughout the country, Google is the most recent target of employee protests over the issue.

Golden Parachute for Accused Executive Spurs Backlash

On November 1, 2018, Google employees across the nation walked off their jobs in anger over how sexual misconduct claims are being handled by the company. In Mountain View alone, roughly 2,000 men and women took part in the walkout, which resulted from what they claim is an attempt to silence and downplay abuses of power.

The walkout centered around revelations that the tech giant had provided a ‘golden parachute’ for a top-level executive accused of engaging in sexual misconduct. The executive, who is credited as being the father of the Android system, was forced to resign due to the allegations, but employees were outraged when reports surfaced that he had been provided with a $90 million severance package. The executive is one of three executives that protestors claim the company is protecting against repercussions due to similar claims. They demand greater accountability and that more actions be taken to defend workers against these types of abusers.

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Posted on in Employment

CA workers rights lawyerMany workers dream of obtaining steady nine to five employment, with regular weekends and holidays off to take care of their families and other personal responsibilities. Unfortunately, too many are stuck in jobs with unpredictable shifts, where they are either over scheduled or not given the number of hours they need to support themselves. San Jose and San Francisco are among the few places to have employment laws in place that protect workers against these types of practices. At the Jachimowicz Law Group, we can use these laws to help defend your rights in these situations.

Fair Workweek Laws

Workers in many industries, such as food service and retail, are frequently required to jump through hoops as part of obtaining a weekly schedule. They may have to call in at the beginning of the week or even before a shift to see if they work and the type of shift they are required to cover during the day. As a result, they have little stability in being able to plan for needs such as transportation and child care, and may be denied the total amount of hours they originally were promised when they took the job.

According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), there is a growing awareness of how unfair these types of practices are and how damaging they can be to an employee’s overall well being. As a result, several major cities across the United States have initiated fair workweek laws to prohibit these practices. In addition to ensuring workers receive adequate hours and timely notices of schedules, fair workweek laws also aim at prohibiting employers from taking actions against employees who must request time off for certain personal duties, or from requiring them to perform unreasonable split shifts based on peak times of demand. Fortunately, San Jose and San Francisco are among the six major areas that have put fair workweek practices in place over the last several years.

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CA employment lawyerLooking for a new job can be challenging in any circumstances. This is particularly true if you are pregnant. Going to an interview while expecting or with an obvious baby bump can be awkward, but it is important to realize your rights under state employment laws. Employers are prohibited against discrimination against pregnant women, but determining whether you were not hired on this basis can prove challenging. The following outlines your rights in these matters and tips to guide you through the process.

CA Law Prohibiting Pregnancy Discrimination

Discriminatory practices based on pregnancy are prohibited under both state and federal laws. According to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), employers are prohibited from denying you a job that you are otherwise qualified for and able to perform, simply on the basis of your pregnancy.

Once you are on the job, there are varying requirements for maternity leave based on the size of the company you work for:

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San Jose whistleblower retaliation lawyerWhen discriminatory actions and policies or unsafe conditions occur on job sites, employees are encouraged to speak out. Unfortunately, many fail to do so out of fear that their employer or manager may retaliate against them. There are laws in place to protect whistleblowers, and a recent case in San Francisco involving utility giant PG&E shows how employers can be held accountable for acting out in any way against these employees. 

PG&E Ordered to Pay Nearly $350,000 in Damages to Employee

When an employee cooperated in an investigation against PG&E over racial problems and spoke out about safety issues in the aftermath of a transformer explosion that occurred in 2015, the utility company responded by firing him. A former electrical maintenance and construction supervisor filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming retaliation was the motive and that the firing was unlawful. After an extensive trial which brought additional safety infractions on the part of the company to light, the Mercury News reported that a San Francisco County Superior Court jury reached a verdict in favor of the worker in July 2018, awarding him more than $341,000 in damages. 

Despite the company’s claims during the trial that they place “public safety first,” this is not the first safety scandal PG&E has been embroiled in. Numerous incidents, including the 2015 explosion and one in 2010 which proved fatal for eight people and destroyed an entire San Bruno neighborhood, have tarnished its reputation. In the aftermath of the 2010 explosion, the company was ordered to pay more than $1.6 billion in penalties and was convicted on felony charges in federal court.  

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San Jose employment law attorneys, job interview questions, job discrimination, California employment law, age discriminationIf you have been out of work or looking to change jobs or career fields, receiving a call back for an interview by a potential employer is exciting news. How you answer certain interview questions can differentiate you from other job candidates and will ultimately play a role in any hiring decisions; therefore, it is natural to want to spend some time brushing up on the common topics that are likely to be discussed. Be aware, however, that employment laws do prohibit employers from asking certain types of questions in interviews. In addition to having the right not to answer, these questions could open the potential employer up to liability in a claim.

Questions that Are Illegal to Ask in a Job Interview

In a competitive job market, employers are apt to be thorough in asking questions during a job interview. The goal is to narrow down the list of possible candidates and should focus on job qualifications. There are several factors which could influence a particular employees job performance and Monster.com advises that employers do have plenty of flexibility in terms of the topics discussed. However, there are certain types of questions that should not be asked, which could qualify as illegal under state or federal laws.

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age discrimination claim, San Jose age discrimination lawyer, California employment law, workplace discrimination, Workplace discrimination lawsuitEmployment law in the United States makes it illegal for employers to deny or limit the employment opportunities available to job applicants and employees based on their advanced age. Therefore, a California worker who has been discriminated against in the workplace based on their age and, as a result, has suffered an adverse employment action (for example, has been denied employment, had his or her pay reduced, was refused employment benefits, had his or her hours cut, was terminated, etc.) can file an age discrimination claim if he or she is of a qualifying age.

There are several different laws under which an age discrimination claim can be filed and the majority of these claims are filed under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Consider the following information as to how one can pursue an age discrimination claim under the ADEA.

Pursuing an Age Discrimination Claim Under the ADEA

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San Jose employment law attorney, working age laws, California employment law, minimum working age, employment regulationsNow that summer is in full swing you may be noticing that the average age of your baristas, ice cream scoopers, cashiers, etc. is significantly younger than it was during the winter months. Teenagers taking summer jobs is a common occurrence in California.

However, if you are an employer, it is important to know that there is a minimum working age in effect in California. So before you hire that last teenage summer employee be sure to brush up on the minimum working age laws outlined below to ensure you are in compliance with the law.

California’s Key Minimum Age for Employment Regulations

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San Jose retaliation lawyers, workplace retaliation, whistleblower statute, California employment law,  retaliation claimIn the United States most employer-employee relationships are governed by the at-will employment doctrine. Essentially, this doctrine holds that an employer has the right to fire an employee at any time for any reason (or for no reason at all) and that conversely an employee has the right to quit his or her job at any time and for any reason (or for no reason at all). However, under California law, there are a few important exceptions to this general rule. For example, consider the following two exceptions:

  • The Public Policy Exception: A California employer may not fire (or in some other way retaliate against) an employee for a reason that violates the fundamental principles of public policy. For example, courts have found that it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for invoking his or her statutory right to collect workers’ compensation benefits because allowing such retaliation to stand would contravene public policy.

  • The Whistleblower Exception: In California, we have a whistleblower statute that protects employees who refuse to participate in illegal activities, or who disclose illegal activities, from employer retaliation. For example, if an employee reports that his or her employer is violating our state’s employment laws, it is illegal for the employer to retaliate against the whistleblowing employee.

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breastfeeding at work laws, San Jose nursing mothers rights lawyersIn California, breastfeeding is legal in all public locations, thanks to the California Civil Code, section 43.3. The code states that a mother is allowed to breastfeed her child in any place, except for the home of another, where the mother and her child are otherwise allowed to be present. In other words, if a mother and her child are in a public space where they are legally allowed to be, then the mother is within her legal rights to breastfeed her child.

But what about breastfeeding in the workplace? Do working women in California have the right to breastfeed while at work? In California, yes, the right to breastfeed at work is protected under California law.

The California Labor Code: Breastfeeding in the Workplace

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San Jose employment law attorneys, employment regulationsMany California employers conduct a background check before hiring a new employee. However, there are both federal and state laws on the books that limit these checks and provide employees with certain applicable rights. For example, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act applies to all background checks conducted on both existing and prospective employees and requires employers to notify individuals when information found by an outside investigative agency is used against them in an employment setting.

Additionally, California state law requires employers to notify both existing and prospective employees before an outside agency conducts a background check on them. There are also several other background check laws that California employers need to abide by, including a few new ones that are scheduled to take effect July 1, 2017.

California’s New Employment Regulations

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