Employers in California are bound by a series of state and federal laws that dictate the treatment of employees. Everything from the questions that can be asked on a job application to grounds for termination, if an employer isn't careful, they could find themselves breaking the law and facing consequences as a result. Using the example of an employee's immigration status, we can see this fact in action.
Because of the rising awareness of employment laws, many workers across the nation, including here in California, have started watching every step business' make. In some cases, a company may be under such intense scrutiny that workers believe the company is violating the law when in fact they are in full compliance. As you can imagine, this can create immense tension between workers and the company they work for. Sometimes, this can even lead to litigation as well.
Whether you're a business owner or an employee here in California, it's important to have at least a general understanding of business and employment law. That's because having a familiarity with the law can help you recognize situations in which a person or business may be violating the law. More importantly, it will help prevent you or your business from violating the law.
Every couple of years, the topic of minimum wage is bound to come up in conversations, pitting workers against political figures who may disagree on whether raising the minimum wage is a good idea or not. 2014 was one such year, which also resulted in a public address from the president who urged Congress to consider passing legislation that would change the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10, potentially affecting some 28 million Americans in the process.
The conduct of an employee while they are with a business and after they leave the business can have some rather significant effects on the business as a whole. This is one of the reasons why business owners often put a great deal of time and energy into the content of their contractual agreements with employees. There are many types of agreements a business owner might ask an employee to sign when the employee starts with the business, such as an employment contract, non-compete agreements and confidentiality agreements.
As Lenora Lapidus, director of Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, said it best, "pregnant women should never have to choose between their job and their pregnancy." As you may know, this was one of the very things that the addition of pregnancy discrimination to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was supposed to put an end to. But as the case of Young v. United Parcel Service illustrates, such a decision is still facing women across the nation, even though legislation has been in place since 1978 to prevent it.
When news first broke four years ago on the suspension of a Fox News broadcaster for using the N-word during a staff meeting, there were immediately two opposing sides to the issue:
A lot of entrepreneurs consider owning and running their own business to be an exciting adventure. Not only do you get to help your product or service grow and prosper, you get to dabble in other things, such as the law, which can be just as exciting (and important) as keeping your business alive.
The law has always presented a unique challenge for businesses across the nation. Not only are they bound by federal laws but those of the states in which they operate their business as well. But owners and managers not only want to make sure that they are following the law but that their employees are as well. Oftentimes, this requires discussions with a skilled attorney who is able to explain the laws at hand and when a violation has occurred.
Since the introduction of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Americans enjoy a lot more protections in the workplace -- more specifically, protection from discrimination based on age, sex, race, skin color and national origin. But even with this federal law in place, some employers and employees still participate in discriminatory behavior that can open companies up to civil lawsuits later on.