Employment Law Blog: Hennig Ruiz

California Employment Law Bills Update for Spring 2017

California Employment Law Bills Update for Spring 2017
Photo Credit: Used Under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics

A variety of new California employment law bills have been sprouting up this spring despite the February deadline to introduce bills in the California Legislature. Because California employment legislation is constantly changing, it’s important for employees to know what may soon impact them in the workplace. Here are five workplace-related bills that we think employees need to keep their eyes on.

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What are California’s Protected Classes in Employment?

California Protected Classes in Employment
Photo Credit: Flickr via Compfight cc

If you are a California employee, federal and state employment laws protect you from workplace discrimination. This means that if your employer subjects you to unlawful negative treatment based on your membership in a protected class, you may be able to file an employment discrimination claim. While federal laws protect certain classes from discrimination and harassment, California state law extends these protections to additional classes of people.

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5 Simple Rules for Hugging at Work

Hugging in the Workplace: Is it Okay to Hug a Coworker?The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that hugging at work can create a hostile work environment if the hugging is unwelcome and pervasive. Yolo County Sheriff Edward G. Prieto was charged with inappropriately hugging a female correctional officer over 100 times within a 12-year period. At one point Prieto hugged the correctional officer to congratulate her on her marriage. To some people, this behavior may seem harmless and friendly, but the correctional officer thought Prieto’s hugs were inappropriate and, ultimately, the court agreed.

So, does this mean that if you hug a longtime coworker in a congratulatory way, he or she will file a sexual harassment complaint against you? Not usually. But hugging in a professional environment can certainly cause confusion. While some coworkers may welcome hugs, others do not want to be touched — even if you have the best of intentions. But when is hugging at work okay? These guidelines for hugging in the workplace can help you decide when it may be an appropriate time to hug a colleague, and when you should probably just opt for the standard handshake.

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Sexual Orientation Discrimination Prohibited Under Title VII According to Seventh Circuit

Sexual Orientation Discrimination Prohibited by Title VII, Seventh Circuit Rules

On April 4 2017, a federal appeals court in Chicago ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBT employees from sexual orientation discrimination. Prior to this 8-3 decision by the Seventh Circuit, no other federal courts of appeal had ruled that mistreatment of employees based on sexual orientation was unlawful under Title VII.

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Gender Identity Discrimination in the California Workplace: Common Questions, Answered

Gender Identity Discrimination in the California Workplace California is one of 17 states that prohibit gender identity discrimination at work. This means that California employers are barred from mistreating employees who are either gender nonconforming or transgender. But while California has some of the strongest LGBT protections in the United States, transgender workers still face significant disparities in the workplace by employers and coworkers who defy state laws. Therefore, it is crucial for employees to understand California’s gender identity discrimination laws and how they protect workers from unlawful discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

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Workplace Bullying: 4 Harmful Effects on Employees

How Workplace Bullying Effects Employees

Tens of millions of American workers have been targets of bullying in the workplace – and their health is deteriorating because of it. The effects of workplace bullying brought on by either a bad boss or coworker typically do not end if you leave your job, either. Studies have shown that if you face ongoing bullying and harassment, you will likely suffer from physical and psychological health issues after you leave a hostile work environment. Here are just some of the long-term effects that can result from workplace bullying.

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California AB 1732: What the Equal Restroom Access Act Means for Employees

California AB 1732 The Equal Restroom Access ActCalifornia Assembly Bill 1732, also known as California’s “bathroom bill,” was signed by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2016 and enacted on March 1, 2017. Here’s how the new law will impact workplace rules, and protect and benefit employees working in California.

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7 Tell-Tale Signs of National Origin Discrimination in the Workplace

Workplace National Origin Discrimination Signs
Photo credit: Getty Images

Both federal and California law prohibit national origin discrimination in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights act forbids discrimination at work based on the country where you were born, or your ancestry, culture, accent, or language.

In addition to Title VII, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) makes it unlawful for a California employer to treat you unfavorably based on your national origin. It also makes it illegal to do so because of your association with a person, such as a spouse, based on his or her national origin.

Note that for both laws, national origin is separate from racial discrimination, which is when you are discriminated against for your physical characteristics and genetic traits that you share with a group, such as skin color, hair texture, or facial features.

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Forever 21 Sued by DFEH for National Origin Discrimination in California

Forever 21 Sued for National Origin Discrimination in CaliforniaClothing retailer Forever 21 could be in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). San Francisco Business Times reports that the company has been sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) for allegedly putting in place an English-only policy for its workers in its San Francisco store.

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