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Most Americans have the right to take up to three months of unpaid leave to recover from injuries or care for a sick family member. This right is protected under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). If you live in California, you’re also protected under the California Family Act (CFRA) and have even broader rights to take time off. 

Under these laws, a covered employer can’t take “adverse employment actions” against you, like termination, demotion, or cutting your hours when you return to work. However, many employers ignore this restriction and fire workers for taking protected leave anyway. 

If you’ve taken FMLA or CFRA leave and been fired for it, you may have grounds to take legal action against your employer. Here’s what you need to know about these laws and what you can do if you’ve already been fired for taking protected time off. 

How FMLA and CFRA Protect Your Job

Both the FMLA and CFRA require covered employers to grant covered employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per 12-month period to recover from illness or injury or to care for a sick family member. They also permit people to take time off for the addition of a child to their household through birth, adoption, or foster placement and for qualifying military exigencies. 

During this time, employees are not paid, but they remain employed, and their benefits must continue. Furthermore, when they return to work, they must be given their old job or one that is functionally indistinguishable. This allows workers to take time away from work for family reasons without risking their entire careers. 

California’s laws cover significantly more state residents than the FMLA does. Under the CFRA, covered businesses include any company with five or more employees, whether they are full-time or part-time. Workers qualify for CFRA leave if they have worked for an employer for at least one year and have worked at least 1250 hours for that employer in the past year. 

Furthermore, the state no longer requires specific legal relationships. Workers can take time off under CFRA to care for a “designated person,” including anyone to whom they are legally related or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship. 

What Counts as Illegal Retaliation Under FMLA and CFRA?

Employers cannot retaliate against workers for taking FMLA or CFRA leave before, during, or after their time away. That is why this leave is considered “protected.” Employees are supposed to be able to take this time off without risking the loss of their job. 

However, too many employers either misunderstand CFRA or disregard it. These companies often view their workers as expendable resources and look for ways to discourage them from doing anything that may inconvenience the business. 

One way they do this is by finding excuses to terminate employees who request CFRA leave. This allows them to replace the worker with someone who does not need time away and discourages other employees from requesting their due time off. However, this type of termination is illegal, and the fired employee can file a claim against the business to get their job back and receive compensation for their losses. 

Termination because of CFRA leave isn’t the only type of retaliation the law bans. Other forms of illegal retaliation for CFRA leave include:

  • Cutting your hours before or after your time off
  • Demoting you 
  • Cutting your pay
  • Refusing to give you the same job or a functionally identical one when you return

In short, any adverse employment action your employer takes against you because you request CFRA or FMLA leave is unlawful. 

Benefits of Holding Your Employer Accountable for FMLA Discrimination

If you have suffered from an unlawful FMLA termination, you do not have to accept that your job is gone. You can take legal action against your employer to fight for your career and your lost pay. Pursuing your claim has benefits such as:

  • Job Reinstatement: If you’ve been fired, demoted, or had your hours cut, you can request that you be reinstated to your old job. Reinstatement will allow you to return to the work you did before suffering retaliation for your request, with the same pay and benefits as you had before you left. 
  • Damages for Lost Wages: Most forms of retaliation for requesting CFRA leave involve lost wages. Whether you’ve had your hours or pay cut or were fired, you can request back pay equivalent to the pay and benefits you did not receive. This is typically calculated based on the amount you made and the benefits you received in the months before you requested leave. 
  • Compensation for Emotional Distress: Losing your income is stressful, especially when you or a loved one is experiencing significant medical distress. You may be able to pursue financial compensation for the emotional damage your employer’s actions caused you. 

In short, you may be able to reclaim your job, the pay and benefits you lost, and even additional funds to make up for the stress of the matter. 

Proven Legal Representation for FMLA Discrimination Cases

You most likely have the right to take FMLA or CFRA leave in California to care for yourself or a loved one. If you’ve been fired for taking protected leave, you can stand up for your rights to keep your job, income, and benefits. The first step is to reach out to an experienced San Francisco employment law attorney. At Le Clerc & Le Clerc LLP, we specialize in protecting your right to fair employment under state and federal law. We have years of experience helping our clients address employment law violations like unlawful FMLA terminations. We are available to advocate on your behalf in court or at the negotiation table. Schedule your free consultation today to learn more.

Workplaces are spaces where individuals of all backgrounds and beliefs should be able to thrive without the heavy burden of discrimination and harassment. With the rise of violence in the Middle East, antisemitic attitudes have resurfaced worldwide, including in the United States.

It is important to identify and combat antisemitism in the workplace to ensure that every employee is treated with respect and dignity. Below, we explore the nature of antisemitism, California’s legal framework for addressing these issues, and what constitutes antisemitism in the workplace. For Jewish employees in California facing workplace harassment and discrimination, it’s vital to know that there are broad legal protections and supports to combat this issue.

Understanding Antisemitism

Workplace discrimination refers to the unfair treatment of an employee or job applicant based on their race, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, religious practice, national origin, and more. Discriminatory behavior can manifest in various forms, including harassment, denial of promotions and opportunities, denial of reasonable accommodations for religious practices, and wrongful termination. Antisemitism generally refers to conduct that targets individuals because of their actual or perceived Jewish identity.

However, the Jewish identity is a complex matter, and antisemitism in the workplace does not have to fit into a single category to be prohibited. Judaism is a religion, and discrimination based on religious belief and practice is prohibited. However, not all Jews practice Judaism. Meaning, Jewish atheists are still Jews. This is because a person’s Jewish identity may be rooted in their ethnicity or ancestry: Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Mizrahi, Yemenite, and Beta Israel. Moreover, various Courts held that for purposes of anti-discrimination laws, Jews are a race. Promulgation of stereotypes about Jews is antisemitism based on negative perceptions about the Jewish identity, often without regard for ethnicity, ancestry or religious adherence. Finally, the State of Israel is associated with Jewishness, and vice versa. Thus, antisemitism can sometimes take the form of perceived national origin discrimination and harassment. 

While antisemitism does not neatly fit into a single legal checkbox, California law offers broad protections despite the nuanced concept of Jewish identity. Governor Gavin Newsom stated, “California already prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation and other characteristics, and state law specifies that these civil rights protections shall be liberally construed.” While his statement was made in the context of caste discrimination, it confirms that when ethnicity, ancestry, national origin and religion intersect, California law provides broad protections. 

California’s Legal Framework for Combating Antisemitic Discrimination

California has robust anti-discrimination laws in place to protect employees against workplace harassment and discrimination, including antisemitism. 

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits discrimination based on various factors, including religion, race, ancestry, ethnicity and national origin. Under FEHA:

  • Employers with five or more employees must provide a workplace free from discrimination and harassment.
  • Discrimination claims can be filed with the Civil Rights Department (CCR).
  • Employees have the right to file a civil lawsuit in court against their employer as well as individual harassers in the workplace.

What Constitutes Antisemitism in the Workplace?

Antisemitism in the workplace can take various forms, and it’s crucial to recognize these behaviors and conduct. Some common examples of antisemitic discrimination include:

  1. Derogatory Comments and Harassment: Engaging in unwelcome comments, jokes or slurs related to the Jewish identity.
  2. Exclusion: Isolating Jewish employees, excluding them from work-related activities, or making them feel unwelcome.
  3. Religious Bias: Treating employees differently because of their Jewish beliefs and practices, such as scheduling conflicts on holidays or days of significance, e.g., Shabbat.
  4. Stereotyping: Spreading negative stereotypes about Jewish people.
  5. Hostile Work Environment: Creating an environment where Jewish employees feel threatened, unwelcome, or uncomfortable due to their identity.
  6. Retaliation: Punishing employees for reporting antisemitic behavior or discrimination.

Consult Expert Workplace Discrimination Lawyers About Antisemitism

Antisemitism in the workplace, harassment and discrimination, is unacceptable and illegal in California. Understanding your rights, recognizing the signs of antisemitism, and taking appropriate legal action can help combat discrimination and promote a fair and inclusive work environment.If you’re facing antisemitic workplace discrimination, don’t hesitate to seek legal guidance. An experienced attorney, such as those at Le Clerc & Le Clerc, LLP, can help you navigate the legal process, gather evidence, and represent your interests effectively. By taking action against workplace discrimination and harassment, you protect your rights and contribute to a more equitable workplace for all employees. Remember, you don’t have to face workplace harassment alone. Schedule your consultation at Le Clerc & Le Clerc, LLP, to learn more about how we can help.

Pay inequality based on gender is an issue that persists in many workplaces, including those in the diverse and progressive state of California. To address this problem, it’s essential to understand the concept of substantially equal work, how California laws protect equal compensation, and the steps you can take to address compensation discrimination. This article aims to shed light on these important topics and empower both women and men to confront unequal pay in the workplace.

Defining Substantially Equal Work

Substantially equal work refers to jobs that require similar skills, effort, and responsibility, and are performed under similar working conditions. In essence, it means that individuals performing these roles should receive the same compensation, regardless of gender. The principle of equal pay for equal work has been a cornerstone of the fight against workplace gender discrimination.

However, achieving substantially equal pay has proven to be a formidable challenge despite the existence of laws designed to prevent such discrimination.

California Laws Protecting Equal Work

In California, several laws are in place to address workplace gender discrimination, including unequal pay for relatively equal work. One of the most critical pieces of legislation is the California Equal Pay Act (EPA), which prohibits employers from paying employees less than those of other genders for substantially similar work.

To establish a violation of the Equal Pay Act, an employee must show that the employer pays employees of the opposite sex more for comparable responsibilities and that the wage difference cannot be justified by factors such as seniority, merit, education, or any other bona fide business necessity.

In addition, California’s Fair Pay Act, the 2015 expansion of the EPA, provides additional protections for workers. The new law made changes, including:

  • Removing the requirement that workers be compared must work at the same establishment, allowing better comparison across large businesses.
  • Strengthening the definition of a “bona fide” business reason to pay people differently; companies must now prove the differential is both job-related and consistent with a business necessity.
  • Preventing employers from using employees’ previous salaries as justification for wage differentials.
  • Providing anti-retaliation protections for workers who make EPA claims.

Finally, as of January 1, 2017, race and ethnicity are protected under California’s EPA. This makes filing a compensation inequality claim substantially easier in California than it is under federal law. 

Gender and Parent Bias in the Workplace

Despite these legal protections, pay inequality remains a significant issue. Gender bias and, more specifically, anti-parent bias, continue to influence compensation decisions. Mothers, in particular, often experience lower wages and face challenges in career advancement due to societal expectations related to childcare responsibilities compared to childless women and men. In contrast, fathers often receive higher wages and more career opportunities than childless men or women. 

Addressing gender and parent bias in the workplace is crucial to achieving substantially equal pay for all. This involves dismantling traditional gender roles and challenging discriminatory practices that perpetuate compensation disparities.

Examples of bias include: 

  • Withholding a bonus from a working mother when one was granted to a childless coworker on the grounds that the mother must be “less dedicated” to her job.
  • Conversely, offering a working father a larger bonus because he needs to “support his family” when other colleagues aren’t given the same bonus.
  • Denying working mothers the opportunity to work overtime because of their gender.
  • Offering women lower raises or fewer benefits on the assumption they’ll be leaving the workforce anyway. 

Any of these situations may be grounds for an EPA claim under California law. 

Steps to Address Substantially Equal Work Disputes

If you believe you are a victim of compensation discrimination, taking action is essential. Here are some steps to consider:

  • Gather Evidence: Collect evidence demonstrating you receive less pay than colleagues of other genders despite performing comparable work. This may include pay stubs, job descriptions, performance reviews, and any relevant communications.
  • Consult with an Attorney: Seek the guidance of an experienced workplace discrimination lawyer. An attorney can help you understand your rights, assess the strength of your case, and guide you through the legal process.
  • Negotiation and Mediation: Attempt to resolve the issue through negotiation or mediation. Many disputes can be resolved through open dialogue and cooperation between employees and employers. If your employer or HR is unaware of the discrepancy, simply filing a complaint and attending a meeting with your attorney may be all that’s necessary to resolve the situation. 
  • File a Complaint: If negotiations fail, you may consider filing a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Your attorney can assist with this process.
  • Consider a Lawsuit: If other avenues do not lead to a resolution, you may pursue a lawsuit against your employer for compensation discrimination. Your attorney will help you build a strong case and navigate the legal proceedings.

You Deserve Equal Pay

Achieving substantially equal pay for substantially equal work is an ongoing battle, but it is one that must be fought to break the barriers based on gender roles. California’s Equal Pay Act provides a legal framework to address unequal pay, but it’s essential to understand and exercise your rights.The persistence of compensation discrimination, particularly related to gender and anti-parent bias, demands our continued attention and action. Seeking the guidance of an experienced workplace discrimination lawyer can be a critical step in holding employers accountable for unequal pay and promoting a more equitable and inclusive workplace. Remember that your fight for equal pay is not just for yourself but for all those who deserve fair and just compensation for their work, regardless of gender. You can learn more about getting help for Equal Pay Act claims by scheduling a consultation with the experienced workplace discrimination attorneys at Le Clerc & Le Clerc LLP.

Becoming pregnant is a life-changing experience. For many workers, it’s also a career-ending change. Despite multiple laws on the books intended to protect pregnant people from discrimination and allow them to continue working, pregnant people around the country struggle to receive the job accommodations they need.

That’s why the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) is being considered by Congress. It’s already been passed by the House with strong bipartisan support, and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee has approved it. Should the bill be signed into law, it could grant workers significantly more rights to pursue accommodations during pregnancy around the country. Here’s how the bill works, how it compares to extant state laws, and what it may mean for California workers like you. 

What You Need to Know About the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The PWFA would update the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA). The PDA made it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers because of pregnancies, childbirth, or related health conditions. It specifies that pregnant people have the right to receive equal treatment “not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work.” 

The problem is that this leaves some holes when the law is interpreted narrowly. If an employer would not provide accommodation for a non-disabled person to perform a job because they need it, the PDA allows them to refuse pregnant people similarly. This is because an “ordinary” pregnancy, or a normal pregnancy without significant medical complications, is not considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

Therefore, under the PDA, companies may not discriminate against workers for undergoing labor or significant medical complications of their pregnancy. However, if those conditions impede their ability to work but do not fall under the ADA, companies can refuse accommodations just as they could a non-disabled person. As it stands, workers need to demonstrate that they are actively being discriminated against because of their gender or that their pregnancy meets ADA standards to receive accommodations for pregnancies. This forces many people out of the workforce with little justification. 

The PWFA would close this loophole. It would require companies to provide workers with the accommodations they need to continue working regardless of whether their pregnancy meets ADA standards. This would allow workers in many states to continue working by requiring companies to provide simple aids such as stools for retail workers or schedule changes to avoid morning sickness. 

How Does the PWFA Compare to State Laws?

Thirty states already have laws similar to the PWFA. These states require companies to provide accommodations to pregnant workers, but they differ in each state. Furthermore, twenty states do not have any law requiring these accommodations, forcing people to choose between a healthy pregnancy and keeping their jobs. 

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) covers some of the same considerations as the PWFA. Under FEHA, a person is considered “disabled by pregnancy” if something they experience because of their pregnancy prevents them from performing essential duties or puts themselves or their unborn child at undue risk. Under FEHA, pregnant people are considered disabled and must be granted the same accommodations as disabled persons with similar restrictions. 

This means that in California, workers can already pursue reasonable accommodations at their jobs if they demonstrate that they would otherwise be at risk or unable to perform their duties. However, they may need to provide a doctor’s note explaining why they cannot perform their current responsibilities. Should the PWFA pass, it may remove this requirement, allowing workers to request reasonable accommodations and work with their employers to find solutions without needing to attend an additional appointment. 

Pursuing Fair Treatment as a Pregnant Worker in California

Until the PWFA passes, California workers must rely on the state’s existing pregnancy protections. These laws are generally strong, though the requirement for a doctor’s note may still be an imposition on some employees. If you’re a pregnant worker in California, you have the right to leave and accommodations throughout your pregnancy, childbirth, and after your child is born. If you aren’t granted these, you may be suffering from discrimination. 

Examples of discrimination against pregnant workers under FEHA include:

  • Refusing to allow schedule or shift changes to help the worker continue to do their best work
  • Failing to provide seating for pregnant workers when possible
  • Requiring pregnant workers to continue doing significant physical labor instead of granting light duty
  • Ordering workers to take paid or unpaid time off instead of providing accommodations for their pregnancy

Your rights may have been violated if any of these issues sound familiar. You can start the process of fighting back by taking the following steps:

  • Document your request and condition: You need to inform your employer that you would like an accommodation before they must grant it. Keep records of any messages you’ve sent to Human Resources or your supervisor regarding your request to show you’ve made an effort.
  • Save communications: Keep copies of anything your employer sends you regarding your requested accommodations and employment status. This can help you prove your request was unfairly denied or that you were discriminated against because of your pregnancy. 

Most importantly, you should reach out to an experienced employment law attorney if you’ve suffered pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. 

Legal Assistance for People Facing Pregnancy-Based Discrimination in the Workplace

As an expectant parent, you have enough to worry about. Don’t let workplace discrimination become another problem. If your employer is refusing to grant you accommodations for your pregnancy or has fired, demoted, or cut your hours because of your pregnancy, you need legal help.At Le Clerc & Le Clerc LLP, we’re ready to help. We have years of experience advocating for clients who have suffered pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, and we understand how to help you resolve your claim. Schedule your consultation today to learn how we can help you take a stand against discriminatory practices and remain in the workforce today.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released a new poster that must be displayed prominently by all covered employers. The new poster, titled “Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination is Illegal,” replaces the previous “EEO is the Law” version and provides updated guidelines for employees to understand their rights in the workplace. 

The updated poster demonstrates a shift in the EEOC’s attitude toward workers’ right to be informed. Learn why EEOC posters matter, how the new guidelines may affect you, and how to take action if your rights are violated at work. 

Why EEOC Posters Matter

The EEOC is responsible for ensuring that employers and employees alike understand their rights and responsibilities in the workplace. One way the EEOC has accomplished this is by mandating that covered employers clearly post government-approved notices regarding workers’ rights on work sites. The EEOC develops posters that cover these rights to ensure that all relevant employers display the same information and do not leave out critical details. 

Covered employers generally include organizations with 15 or more employees. These companies must ensure the posters are displayed in a prominent location that is easily accessible to people with disabilities at each work site. They are also encouraged to post them on their online workers’ portal. This is intended to ensure that every worker has the opportunity to read and understand their rights, particularly in large organizations that may have more resources to oppose disputes with employees. 

The Impact of the New EEOC Guidelines

The updated “Know Your Rights” poster significantly improved from the previous version. The current version includes the same information as the “EEO is the Law” poster but changes the format and adds additional resources for workers. Information carried over from the previous poster includes an explanation of workplace discrimination law regarding:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Genetic information
  • Equal pay
  • Retaliation for filing charges or otherwise opposing discrimination

This information is rewritten and restructured in the “Know Your Rights” poster. While the “EEO is the Law” poster covered all of these subjects, it did so in dense text without an easy-to-follow structure. The new version has been written with straightforward language and formatted to include bullet points, making it easier to read at a glance. 

In addition, the new poster clarifies that:

  • Discriminatory actions because of pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity is a form of sex discrimination
  • Harassment is also considered discrimination
  • Contractors are also due equal pay, though under different guidelines than traditional employees

Finally, the poster adds a QR code that allows workers to access a webpage explaining how to file a discrimination charge against their employer. It is available in English and Spanish, with new translations available in the future. 

Employers must acquire the “Know Your Rights” poster and use it to replace the previous version as soon as possible. If the new poster is not hung in a reasonable timeframe, covered employers may be subject to fines based on how long they have delayed. 

Determining If Your Rights Are Being Violated

The EEOC poster is a valuable resource for anyone concerned about workplace discrimination. The poster should be easy to find and read if you work for a covered employer. If not, your employer may be violating your rights. To determine if your employer is failing to meet EEOC standards, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your employer covered? If the company has 15 or more workers, the answer is almost certainly yes. Smaller organizations may also be covered if they meet specific standards, such as being a public or government institution.
  • Is there a poster anywhere on the property? Covered employers must physically post the notice on the property. It may not only be provided by email or through a website. 
  • Is the poster easy to access? The notice must be posted prominently, typically in a break room, next to a timecard machine, or in other locations where employees spend their time. This means it can’t be in an area inaccessible to certain workers, such as an executive lounge.
  • Is the poster accessible to people with disabilities? The notice must be accessible to disabled people, so it cannot be posted somewhere a person in a wheelchair or with other restrictions would be unable to see.

If your employer has not met these criteria, they violate EEOC regulations. 

What to Do If You Are Suffering Discrimination

EEOC regulations are among the most basic requirements covered employers must meet. If your workplace has not posted the new freely available EEOC notice, it may be a sign that your rights are being violated in other ways. You should consider whether you suffer from discrimination, such as unequal pay, harassment, lack of disability accommodations, or other problems. 

If so, you can take action:

  • Document the discrimination: Collect evidence that you suffer from unfair workplace treatment because you are part of a protected class. This can include writing down instances of harassment or saving communications that show you are being treated poorly. 
  • Consider notifying your workplace: If the discrimination is primarily performed by one person, you may be able to notify Human Resources and request that they take action against the person abusing you. 
  • Talk to an experienced employment law attorney: If you feel uncomfortable discussing the matter within your company, or if your employer does not respond to your complaints, you should consult with a qualified lawyer and discuss filing an EEOC complaint or a civil lawsuit.

Legal Assistance for Workplace Discrimination

The new EEOC poster clearly demonstrates that the EEOC is putting workers’ needs first. By making the information easier to read and clarifying essential details, the Commission has taken an important step to ensure all employees actually understand their rights. At Le Clerc & Le Clerc LLP, we have years of experience advocating for workers in California. We understand how to protect your rights in the workplace, whether through negotiation or litigation. Schedule your consultation today to learn how we can assist you.

As a country, the US has made huge strides in civil rights protections over the past several decades. However, there is still a long way to go. California has long been a leader among the states in expanding legal protections and enshrining new civil rights into law. This is just as true for LGBTQ protections today as it was for gender equality forty years ago. 

One way California has set a positive example for the nation is by providing clear and specific protections for LGBTQ people in the workplace. If you are a member of the queer community, you’re protected under state law from discriminatory employment action. Keep reading to learn how California protects you, examples of illegal discrimination you may have suffered, and what you can do if you’ve been discriminated against for your sexuality or gender presentation.

The Difference Between Federal and California Discrimination Laws

Federal laws on civil rights are often slow to change. In many cases, the exact interpretation of critical laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is left to the courts to decide instead of having Congress pass new laws. In contrast, California legislators have a longstanding tendency to enshrine rights into laws rather than waiting for lawsuits to reach the state Supreme Court and set precedents. 

This means that despite attitudes toward LGBTQ people changing nationwide, there remains a significant gulf between the federal government’s and California’s protections. Under the original Civil Rights Act, protected classes include: 

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex

This has been expanded to cover other groups, including:

  • Disability (under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990)
  • Pregnancy (under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978)
  • Age over 40 (under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967)

In the text of these federal laws, there is no mention of LGBTQ matters. Supreme Court rulings have determined that taking adverse employment actions against LGBTQ people violates the Civil Rights Act’s protections based on sex. However, the Court has recently demonstrated that it is willing to reverse its past decisions when it repealed Roe v. Wade, so this is no longer the protection it used to be. Finally, these laws only apply to employers with fifteen or more workers. 

In contrast, California specifically names LGBTQ groups in its Fair Employment and Housing Act. It designates all the classes above but adds:

  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender
  • Gender identity
  • Gender expression

In addition, these protections apply to all employers with five or more employees. As a result, protections for these groups in California are significantly more robust, making it easier for queer people to find employment and keep it. 

Examples of Illegal LGBTQ Employment Discrimination in California

Despite these strong protections, many California residents don’t realize the extent of their legal rights. If you are a member of the LGBTQ community, you may have experienced illegal discrimination without realizing it. Common examples of discrimination that are illegal in California include:

  • Asking about gender or sexual orientation in interviews: Interviewers cannot ask you about your orientation or gender in interviews. If they include it on an application, you do not have to answer, and they may not make hiring decisions based on your response or lack thereof.
  • Asking about marital status in interviews: Marital status is also protected, regardless of the gender of your spouse. Asking about whether you’re married can be another way to identify your sexual orientation and is not permitted.
  • Requiring gendered dress codes: If employers require dress codes, they cannot be based on gender identity or expression. They may provide different types of permissible clothing or uniforms but may not restrict some people from wearing items like skirts or pants.
  • Purposeful deadnaming or misgendering: If you have transitioned, purposefully using your deadname or the incorrect pronouns may be considered discriminatory harassment.
  • Excluding gender-affirming care in insurance: If a California employer provides insurance for their employees, that insurance must cover gender-affirming care such as hormone replacement therapy and gender reassignment surgery.
  • Firing, cutting hours, or refusing to promote based on gender expression: Employers can’t take adverse actions against workers for failing to conform to traditional gender expression. 

The Impact of California’s Strong Discrimination Laws

California’s LGBTQ workplace discrimination laws have an outsized impact on some of the most vulnerable workers in the state. By providing these protections, the state gives LGBTQ workers the resources to stand up to employers who mistreat them. If any of the situations above sound familiar, you may have grounds to file a discrimination lawsuit against your employer to pursue compensation for the losses you’ve suffered. 

If you suspect you’ve been discriminated against because of your gender identity, presentation, or sexual orientation, you can get help. Here’s what you can do to fight for your rights to fair employment:

  • Document your treatment: Save communication with your employer that demonstrates how you have been discriminated against, and write down or record instances of harassment.
  • File a complaint: If you feel safe enough to do so, file a complaint with your manager or the company’s Human Resources department to demonstrate that you’re acting in good faith.
  • Get legal help: If your complaint does not resolve the harassment or discrimination you face, consult an experienced employment law attorney to decide your next steps.

Expert Legal Counsel for Victims of LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination

California has put many protections in place for LGBTQ people, but they don’t prevent discrimination in the workplace. Instead, they offer workers the chance to fight back when they are discriminated against. If you have lost opportunities or experienced a hostile workplace because of your gender or orientation, you deserve expert legal assistance from the team at Le Clerc & Le Clerc LLP. 

Our knowledgeable attorneys have years of experience fighting for LGBTQ protections in California. We are available to assist you with pursuing fair employment regardless of why you are being harassed. Schedule your consultation today to learn more about how we can help you. 

A new year is an excellent time for new beginnings, according to California legislators. The state government instituted multiple laws over the past year to protect workers from predatory companies or provide them with more rights. Most of these laws are scheduled to go into effect on January 1st, 2023. 

That means that California workers should expect significant changes in their workplace rights in the new year. However, employers are often slow to respond when employment laws change. You need to know what laws are changing in 2023, so you can hold your employer accountable if adjustments are not made. Below are some of the most essential new employee protection laws for 2023 and what they mean for you.

Improvements to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

CFRA is California’s answer to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under CFRA, California workers have the right to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid time off of work every twelve months to care for designated family members. However, the extant law restricts this to immediate family members such as spouses, grandparents, children, and siblings. 

Next year, that changes. Assembly Bill (A.B.) 1041 updates CFRA and the Healthy Workplaces Healthy Families Act (HWHFA) to expand who workers may take time off work to care for. Instead of limiting worker leave to immediate family members, A.B. 1041 allows workers to designate a specific person for each leave request. This can be anyone, without the need for a particular relationship. As a result, workers can now care for all their loved ones, including fiancés, aunts and uncles, or dear friends, without risking unemployment.

Increase in Privacy Rights

Multiple laws updating employee privacy rights will go into effect on New Year’s Day. For instance, A.B. 984 requires employers to disclose the use of GPS tracking technology on company vehicles. In addition, it gives employees the right to turn off these devices when using company vehicles while not on the clock. Previously, companies could add tracking technology to fleet cars and trucks without letting workers know, allowing them to monitor exact locations and speed whether they were on or off the clock. 

Meanwhile, the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 will also go into effect. It significantly increases the care employers must take to protect and secure private worker information. Workers will have the right to know what information has been collected, how it is being used, and even request that it be deleted entirely.

Extension of COVID-19 Workers’ Comp Benefits

California instituted a rebuttable presumption that workers who come down with COVID-19 caught it on the job, allowing them to pursue workers’ compensation for their illness. This was initially supposed to expire at the end of 2022. However, A.B. 1751 will extend this presumption until January 1st, 2024. As a result, workers who catch COVID-19 will have the opportunity to receive workers’ compensation benefits to help cover their lost income while they are recovering from the illness.

Broadening of Health Benefits

California has some of the country’s most inclusive laws regarding employer health insurance coverage. These laws will expand further in 2023. First, A.B. 2134 will require religious employers and insurers who do not provide coverage for contraception and abortion to provide clear and understandable materials to workers explaining how to access these services for free through the California Reproductive Health Equity Program.

In addition, Senate Bill (S.B.) 523 will amend the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to bar employers from discriminating against workers for reproductive decisions such as taking contraception or receiving an abortion. It will also expand the required health plan coverage of contraceptives. Combined, S.B. 523 and A.B. 2134 will significantly improve reproductive healthcare benefits and protections for all workers in the state.

Expansion of Hate Crime Definitions

All workers deserve the right to workplaces that are safe and not hostile. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult for employees to prove that they are suffering harassment or discrimination in the workplace. That is one of the reasons that A.B. 2282 was passed to expand the definition of hate crimes in places of employment. 

Under the law, workplace hate crimes will include not only verbal threats and physical harassment but also the display of hate imagery. Examples of hateful imagery specifically named in the bill include:

  • Nooses
  • Burning crosses or other religious symbols
  • Nazi swastikas

The bill also states that hateful imagery includes more than these symbols.

By expanding the definition of hate crimes, California is giving workers stronger grounds to file harassment and discrimination claims against employers who do not take action to halt the display of this disturbing imagery. 

Additions to Non-Retaliation Laws

No one should have to choose between keeping their job and driving to or from work during emergency conditions. Under S.B. 1044, most employers will no longer be allowed to retaliate against employees who refuse to come to or leave work during emergency conditions. Employers also will not be permitted to prevent employees from accessing their mobile devices during emergencies. 

The law defines these as “conditions of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons or property at the workplace or worksite caused by natural forces or a criminal act” or “an order to evacuate a workplace, a worksite, a worker’s home, or the school of a worker’s child due to natural disaster or a criminal act.” By providing these protections, S.B. 1044 allows workers to retain their jobs without risking their physical safety.

Get Expert Legal Help Standing Up for Your Rights

The laws listed above are just some of the updates to California employment laws coming in 2023. If your employer doesn’t take steps to comply with these new regulations, they will be violating your rights. At Le Clerc & Le Clerc LLP, we are dedicated to protecting your employee rights no matter how state law may change. Schedule your consultation to learn how we can advocate for you under new employee protection laws for 2023.

Sexual harassment has served as a constant problem in workplaces across the country for as long as workplaces have existed. However, the way sexual harassment takes place often changes with generations and time.

What does sexual harassment look at a modern workplace? How can workers identify it if it happened to them?


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discusses sexual harassment in the workplace. Of course, many cases of sexual harassment that see a lot of news and media coverage involve sexual assault or even rape. These physical cases garner a lot of attention, but actually make up a smaller percentage of overall sexual harassment cases than one may expect.

A large portion of these cases involves non-physical sexual harassment. What is this, though? In short, any form of coercion or threat to get one person to perform a sexual act counts as sexual harassment, even if the act never takes place. In short, nothing physical needs to happen for a person to file a report on sexual harassment.


Another example involves creating a toxic work environment through gossip and rumors. Specifically creating rumors that center around or target a person’s sexuality, gender or sex life can count as sexual harassment, especially if it creates an environment that disallows a person from working normally.

Finally, even derogatory comments based on gender can count as sexual harassment. This goes for both genders and can include classic sexist remarks that also contribute to toxic environments.

If a worker experiences any of these situations, they should consider what steps they can take next to combat it.

Breastfeeding provides many important benefits for both babies and their mothers.⁠ Both UNICEF and the World Health Organization recommend that mothers breastfeed their babies.⁠

California has important laws in place to protect and support mothers who wish to pump breastmilk for their babies during their working hours.


The law requires employers in California to provide lactation breaks, periods of time during the work day for nursing mothers to pump breastmilk. Employers must provide a private area where you can pump. It must shield you from view and be relatively free from intrusion; the private area cannot be a toilet stall.


Your employer must allow a reasonable amount of time to pump, but this vague standard does not have a strict time limit. An appropriate break will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The number and frequency of breaks you need
  • Time to walk back and forth to the space, wait if necessary, pump and refrigerate the expressed milk
  • Time to retrieve your pump, set it up, and clean and store it when you finish
  • Time for you to wash up and return to work


If you wish to pump breastmilk when you return to work, you should let your employer know in writing. Employers cannot legally retaliate against you by punishing, firing, or treating you unfairly for exercising your legal right.

California supports breastfeeding mothers who wish to return to work by providing legally required lactation breaks. Taking advantage of this opportunity can help you take care of your baby while you successfully transition back to work.

Employment laws govern all the members of a business, including the boss or supervisor. While employees must follow certain rules in the workplace, employer actions cannot violate local or federal laws, or the employer may get into legal trouble.

It is ultimately up to your employer to ensure they are compliant with the relevant laws. However, you should also be aware of these laws in case your supervisor violates them. Here are a few key points to remember.


Employers can discourage workers from discussing salaries, but they cannot take steps to stop you from having these conversations according to the National Labor Relations Act. You and your co-workers are free to discuss salary at work, when meeting socially, or online. Salary comparisons are often an issue of work equality, so they must take place to ensure the staff receives fair treatment.


If the Fair Labor Standards Act covers you as a worker, your employer cannot ask you to work unpaid hours. You must receive compensation for all work you perform based on your current rate of pay. You are free to refuse unpaid work, and the employer cannot fire you for refusing. Retaliation is also against federal laws and considered a violation of your rights.


Employers typically save money when hiring independent contractors. Workplaces do not have to provide contractors benefits, nor do they have to pay taxes on their behalf. However, there are some key differences between employees and contractors, and employers cannot classify a worker as a contractor just to save money.

For instance, an employee will work according to their employer’s schedule, while a contractor will work at their own pace. An employee receives their pay on a weekly or monthly schedule, while a contractor is usually paid per assignment.

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