Puerto Rico Passes Bill Prohibiting Gender-based Discrimination in Public and Private Sectors of Employment
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Every Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyer is aware that unequal pay and compensation is still one of the most enduring issues in many American workplaces. Such issue is even more a topic of discussion if one considers the aspects of sex and gender. This is despite the Equal Pay Act being a chief employment law that “prohibits discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers.”
It has been half a century since then-President John F. Kennedy signed into law the Equal Pay Act, on June 10, 1963. Said law requires both men and women with the same work description and duties and responsibilities be paid equally. This also applies even if the jobs involved are substantially the same. The Equal Pay Act covers all pay and compensation, ranging from salaries, overtime pay, bonuses, vacation and holiday pay, and benefits, among others.
Fast forward fifty years later, President Barack Obama and his administration is pushing Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would promote transparency in the issue of differences in wages. For many, this legislative development would hopefully bridge the gap of male and female workers in terms of equal pay for equal work even further.
Still, the facts remain that many women with the same work as that of their male counterparts are still paid around 77 cents for every dollar that men earn. Such figure, however, might not be the same nowadays, thanks to various research findings. But there is one that is quite surprising.
In 2010, Reach Advisors, an analytics firm, found out that the median salary of women who don’t have children yet and are under the age of 30 was 8 percent higher than their male counterparts. This is due to the fact that women within the said age group are pursuing college education than men. What’s surprising in this 2010 finding is that women under 30 were the only ones who have a pay advantage than men, and that such advantage decreases as they reach motherhood.
Indeed, the gender gap in wages and in employment overall is still a big issue in the country. The Equal Pay Act may still be in effect, but many businesses often take advantage of their employees, some of them women, by paying them less than their male counterparts. Such adverse action can be classified as employment discrimination on the basis of sex.
EEOC Commissioner | Jenny R. Yang
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has just gotten a new hero to help victims of employment discrimination. Jenny R. Yang has just been sworn in as one of the new commissioners of the EEOC. Yang was nominated by President Barack Obama on August 2, 2012 and she was unanimously confirmed by the Senate last April 25th, 2013. Yang joins the EEOC’s Chair Jacqueline Berrien, Commissioners Constance Barker, Chai Feldblum, and Victoria Lipnic. Her appointment completes the five-member bipartisan Commission that is appointed by the president. She replaces Stuart Ishimaru and will be serving her post until July 1, 2017.
Who is Commissioner Jenny R. Yang?
Yang joined Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll PLLC firm in 2003. She was a partner of the firm and has represented thousands of employees in a lot of complex civil rights and employment actions across the country. She also became the firm’s committee for hiring and diversity. Yang also has great experience in handling issues that employers face in making hiring as well as other personnel decisions.
Before she joined the firm of Cohen Milstein, Yang became one of the senior trial attorneys with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section. She enforced several federal laws that prohibits discrimination in employment by state and local government employers from 1998 to 2003. She has also worked at the National Employment Law Project that enforces the workplace rights of garment workers. Yang also worked as a clerk for the Honorable Edmund Ludwig on the U.S. District Court for Pennsylvania’s Eastern District.
Commissioner Yang also served as vice chair and board member of the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, a nonprofit organization that gives legal assistance to Asian Pacific American and small business owners in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. She held that position for over five years.
She had her B.A. from Cornell University in government, received her J.D> from New York University School of Law. There, Yang became a note and comment editor of the law review and a Root-Tilden public interest scholar. One Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyer was delighted over Yang’s appointment as he believes that the former will be of great help to discriminated employees all around the country. Her tons of experience in handling positions concerning the plight of employees, along with all of her educational and work experience makes her more than qualified for her appointment as one of the EEOC’s new commissioners.
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Children have the freedom to enjoy their childhood. They should be allowed to play, enjoy their young life and be protected from the evils in this world. Kids should be protected by the elders, particularly their parents and the government. A Los Angeles lawyer says that in every country, there are laws that protect kids from harassment and abuse. However, there are instances when the very people that are ought to protect the kids are the one that inflicts pain, suffering, and abuse on them.
Child labor is a form of child abuse and it is strictly prohibited not just in the United States but all over the world. However, there are still poverty-struck places where they take advantage of children, making them work, paying them meager wages. In Colombia, thousands of children work in the country’s mining sector. These poor kids work alongside adults and are exposed to personal injuries, as well as the dangers brought about by tools, hazardous substances, toxic gases and routine explosions.
Help for the kids in the artisanal mining sector
The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs in its aim to help various countries’ labor programs have announced that it is awarding a $9 million competitive grant solicitation. This will fund one or more projects by the Colombian government to help reduce child labor in its artisanal mining sector.
How will these funds help eradicate child labor in Colombia
In countries that have poverty as their biggest problems like Colombia, some parents end up fielding their children to work that can be dangerous for them. To begin with, child labor should not be tolerated. However, parents from the poorest families have no choice as they need a source of income badly. While government as well as non-government organizations are doing their best to prevent this from happening,
Qualifying organizations will be able to receive funding from the U.S. Labor Department to help identify child labor in the mining sector and stop it. The funds will also be used to help increase educational opportunities for kids and aide the families in improving their livelihood.
No matter how you look at it, child labor is just wrong. A Los Angeles labor attorney affirms that all countries have laws against it. While completely eradicating child labor may seem impossible, the citizenry collective efforts will definitely make a big impact in making this world a better place not just for kids but for everyone.
Termination in employment is not unusual in California workplaces. In fact, employees in the state are considered “at will,” which means that they may be fired at any time with or without cause. Employers, however, must take into account that the decision to terminate employees must adhere to the employment and labor laws in the state.
While an employer can fire an employee “at will,” one must remember that there are exceptions to it. A California employee who gets terminated may exercise his or her own right to sue his or her employer if the latter does not seriously consider certain exceptions that entail the “at will” setting of employment in the state.
To further understand this, here is the list of some of the exceptions to the “at will” scheme in California employment:
· Employer-employee relationships in many workplaces in California are not always bound by written agreements. If they do, terms and conditions of employment are contained in a written contract. Here, the termination of an employee must be made if the reason is stated explicitly in the contract; otherwise, the termination is wrongful and illegal.
· Aside from a written contract, employer-employee relationships are also bound by “implied” contracts, which are expressed and usually coming from the employer’s thinking. The duration of a worker’s employment with the company, promises of a job promotion, assurance of a continued employment, or a promise of long-term employment at the time of hiring usually comprise implied contracts.
· Wrongful termination in employment happens when there is a breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing. An example of such is when the employer makes conflicting statements with all its employees with regard to the terms and conditions in promotions and salary increases.
· Another exception in the “at will” employment setup in California workplaces is the violation of public policy. Aside from discrimination and harassment, terminating an employee just because the latter attended a trial to serve as a jury member, exercised his or her right to vote, or revealed an illegal activity in the workplace (whistleblower) is not allowed.
Wrongful termination in California is illegal and prohibited under the prevailing state employment and labor laws, such as the Labor Code and the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Filing a complaint with the appropriate state agency or consulting with a top wrongful termination lawyer in California would be the best legal action to take.
Employment & Labor Laws Explained
Most people only care about knowing their rights whether as an employee or an employer. When it comes to technicalities about the labor and employment laws though, most people don’t really give much importance to fully understanding such laws. What these people don’t understand is that by understanding what both labor and employment laws really are can help them be able to protect themselves better. Knowing the difference between the two will help you better know when to hire a labor or employment lawyer in Los Angeles to represent you in the case or claim you are filing.
WHAT DO LABOR LAWS DO?
Labor laws are pieces of legislation that have been drafted and implemented to help keep the relationships and responsibilities between businesses and labor unions good. Basically, labor laws are the ones that tackle issues like collective bargaining rights, different issues arising from union contracts, labor strikes, as well as disputes or concerns about when a union can be organized.
THE EVOLUTION OF LABOR LAWS
Labor laws have significantly evolved through the years. Before, labor laws were created as the government’s response to the incidences of workplace injustices that have been happening through the years. As amendments were made through the years, labor laws have now become more complex. That is why if you have issues regarding the above mentioned, you should consult a lawyer that specializes and have years of experience in handling, and have won labor law cases.
EMPLOYMENT LAWS EXPLAINED
Unlike labor laws, employment laws are the many laws that help in the regulation of one workplace. These laws help keep the relationship between employers and employees okay. Basically, employment laws tackle concerns about wages and work hours (like minimum wage laws as well as the right wage rates for people working beyond normal working hours). There are also employment laws that are focused on keeping workplaces free from various hazards, as well as to stop harassment, discrimination, and unfair treatment of employees in the workplace. There have also been employment laws that oversee mandatory and voluntary leaves like disability and maternity leaves. Over the years, amendments to earlier employment laws have given birth to various laws that cover the different facets in the workplace. Basically employment laws have evolved into what it is right now, a remedy for people that have been harassed or discriminated against, paid or fired unjustly, as well as other concerns regarding the safety of the people in the workplace.
Though it may seem trivial, knowing such things will help you pick a better lawyer that can push for your interests. Hiring the right lawyer for the right case doesn’t only help make things easier for you, it also helps bolster your chances of winning the case.
Stress Meter Alert!
Working can give people enormous amounts of stress. As you very well know, stress is experienced by almost everyone in the workplace. Stress affects one in many ways. Psychologically, it puts a person in a bad mood, making them quickly irritated. This irritation then affects one person’s capability to work well, hampering his or her productivity. When one person’s stress levels shoot up, his or her health may suffer, making one unable to work or worst, suddenly disabled.
So how can one reduce stress levels at work for a healthy work life? Here are some tips that you can keep in mind to maximize fun and minimize stress at work.
Clean up your act. Still have those old memos and outdated messages with you? Go through your files in your work area and delete or dispose anything that you don’t need anymore.
Give your work space a makeover. Clutter in your office desk won’t help or inspire you to work better. So stay away with the clutter by organizing everything on your desk. This will help you be able to work more efficiently.
Don’t get left behind with deadlines. Do some catching up with your work. While it is easy to procrastinate at work, meeting deadlines will be definitely harder. So stop procrastinating and keep up with your deadlines.
Work first, all else next. Put your work first more than anything. Come up with a list of what needs to be done and do it. Being able to beat deadlines pumps you up and gets you ready and pumped up for the next job at hand.
Communication is key. Never forget to communicate well with co-workers and supervisors. If you have a situation that is stressing you, why hold it in? Let your colleagues in and who knows, they might be able to help you out.
Relax and regroup. Stand up and walk away from your desk for a bit. Breaks keep you sane and refreshed and ready to take on the next job.
Don’t deprive yourself of sleep. Have enough sleep at night. A sleep-deprived person may not function as well as a well-rested person. So take that well needed rest whenever you can.
However, getting sick because of your work or any other reason is completely understandable. That is why your employer should accommodate your request for sick leaves should you ask for one. If you happen to be denied of a leave application or get wrongfully terminated for taking that leave because you have been sick, you can talk to a Los Angeles labor lawyer now to help you defend against your employer. There are laws to protect your right as employee. You just have to stand up for and fight for it.
Protecting Employees' Rights
The State of California is known as having the most diverse yet stringent employment and labor laws that obviously protect the rights of employees. Employers covered by the laws under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) must do their best not to violate them.
As it is, employees have the ability to simply file a case against their erring employers and possibly win damages if they successfully prove that their employers are guilty of unlawful employment acts such as discrimination and harassment.
However, because of the recent developments brought about by the landmark decision of the California Supreme Court on Harris vs. City of Santa Monica, employees may be facing uncertainties with regard to the success of their claims.
It was on February 7 when the state Supreme Court decided on the “mixed-motive” defense applicable on FEHA claims. Before the decision was made on Harris, a claimant (the employee) may win damages and attorney fees if he or she can prove that the unlawful discrimination or harassment was a motivating factor.
Ever since the decision, any employee who files a FEHA claim against their employer may have to prove that the discriminatory act wasn’t only a motivating factor to win either damages or attorney fees, or both. They should also be able to prove that the illegal act was a “substantial” factor.
But, when an employer can show that it would have made the same employment decision due to legitimate reasons, the court may not award damages, back pay, or reinstatement even if there is a substantial evidence of discrimination or harassment. Although the employer could still pay attorney’s fees, the only way for it to avoid paying damages to the employee is for it to carry the burden of proof.
The landmark decision from the state Supreme Court provided a clear and concise guide on dealing with employment and labor cases, particularly those that revolve around the mixed-motive defense. Also, it created a higher standard for claimants that would help establish a claim for back pay or any other damages.
Meanwhile, while employers have the weapons to defend themselves from such claims and lawsuits against them, every Los Angeles labor lawyer continues to strive to provide justice for employees who are now facing this hard task of obtaining compensatory damages.
California’s “at-will” employment policy is often criticized by most of the employees who reside in the area because of its tendency to be used as justification for the wrongful termination committed by abusive employers.
Accordingly, at-will employment is defined as a policy that gives employers the permission to terminate workers readily without having liability under the law. However, in truth, the termination under this policy states that it is done under valid reasons and in compliance to California employment laws.
In this regard, an employee who feels that he or she was wrongfully terminated should file a complaint with labor agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Furthermore, it is necessary for the laborers to prove in the litigation process that the employer really had no legitimate reason to dismiss them from their jobs.
The following laws would hold the employer liable if he or she is proven to have committed an act of wrongful termination:
• Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) – The act of discriminating against a worker and terminating that person because he or she came from a different race, sexual preference, age, religion, nationality, skin color is strictly prohibited.
• Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – This law is considered the umbrella for all succeeding policies regarding employment. According to it, all employers should not terminate any worker under invalid reasons. The said law also strengthens the regulations against maltreatment.
• Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – An employee is permitted to take a leave from work for up to 12 weeks to care for a sick family member or to nurse a newborn baby. The employer then has no right of firing the worker after he or she has successfully filed the leave.
Since the litigation process for employment cases is quite complex, the employee may seek the services of an attorney specializing in labor laws. This person would collect evidences and look for witnesses to prove in court that his or her client is telling the truth.
Once the liability of the employer is proven, the worker, who was a victim of the maltreatment, will likely receive damages awards in the form of monetary payments to compensate for his or her losses.
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People with mental or physical disabilities are often discriminated against especially those who are in the employment sector. This is quite unfair since these people comprise 20.7 percent of the whole labor force. This meant that, notwithstanding their disabilities, they try to make themselves an important part of the economy through their income taxes.
Instead of slacking and leaving the work to those who define themselves as more mentally and physically able, these people had managed to show that they have far greater worth. Sometimes, their efforts to get a job were even more than those who do not have disabilities but would rather slack off.
With this prelude, it is then only fitting for the government to create agencies and laws that would cater to this sector of the society. Among such laws is the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Under the ADA, employers are prohibited from discriminating applicants or employees based on disability. It is also described as a wide-ranging civil rights law, which has similar provisions to that of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
For those who are wondering if they fall under the definition of disability, which is protected by the ADA, here are the following requirements as specified under the said law:
• The person has a mental or physical impairment that limits one or more major life activities.
• The person has a record of the impairment.
• This person is regarded by other people as someone who had such impairment.
Accordingly, the ADA warns and prohibits employers from committing acts of discrimination under the following employment processes:
• Job assignments
One of the places with a lot of disability discrimination cases is that of the State of California. Most of the employers in this area fail to recognize that the same employment laws also govern them. Through the California employment laws as well, discrimination is never tolerated. Employees are also encouraged to file a complaint once the company fails to address their grievances in case they experienced discrimination based on their disability.