How to Report Unfair Treatment at Work
Being treated unfairly at work is horrible and can negatively impact the life of a worker in many different ways. When an employer uses unfair labor practices, it falls to the employee to take action to stand up for what is right, even if that takes legal action to accomplish. However, employees should first consider whether the unfair treatment at work was actually illegal before submitting a complaint or considering legal action.
What laws protect California workers?
Whether unfair treatment at work was actually illegal comes down to the laws that may have been violated.
As a worker in the state of California, there are many laws that protect you.
Some of the federal laws that protect workers nationwide include:
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- Wage and hour laws
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
- Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
- Title VII on workplace discrimination
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
- Whistleblower and retaliation laws
- Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)
California has taken the extra measure of passing its own laws to further protect employees in the state.
Some notable California labor laws concerning the protection of employees rights include the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employment discrimination based on race or color; religion; national origin or ancestry, physical disability; mental disability or medical condition; marital status; sex or sexual orientation; age, with respect to persons over the age of 40; and pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
The FEHA also prohibits retaliation against anyone for opposing any practice forbidden by the Act or for filing a complaint, testifying, or assisting in proceedings under the FEHA. A 1978 amendment to the act requires employers to provide an unpaid job-protected leave to employees that were disabled by pregnancy (also known as “pregnancy disability leave”) for up to four months.
The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid, or unpaid, job-protected leave during a 12 month period. During their leave time, employees are entitled to the same employer paid health benefits as when they were working. Employees may take this leave for the birth of a child or adoption or foster care placement, to care for an immediate family member that has a serious health condition, or when the employee is unable to work due to a serious health condition.
If an employer violates any of the above laws, the employee has a case and can proceed with filing a complaint.
Examples of unfair treatment at work
Some examples of unfair treatment at work may include:
- Workplace discrimination against protected classes
- Wrongful termination
- Sexual harassment
- Failure to grant equal pay for similar work
- Pregnancy discrimination
- Failure to comply with wage and hour laws
- Retaliation against employees who filed complaints or were whistleblowers
How do you file a workplace discrimination complaint in California?
In the state of California, there are two agencies with which you may file a workplace discrimination claim: the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
These two agencies work together so that, if you file with one of the two, the other will be notified and they will work together to go through claims. Provided you indicate you wish to “cross file” with both agencies, there is no need to file a claim with both.
What happens once you file a workplace discrimination complaint?
Once you file a complaint with either the EEOC or DFEH, they then will conduct an investigation into your claim and determine whether your employer was in violation of federal or state civil law.
If there is evidence to suggest there was a violation of these laws, they will notify both you and your workplace, as well as give recommended courses of action. You then will be able to file a private claim with the help of an employment lawyer.
Los Angeles Employment Lawyers
If you feel that you have been legally wronged by an employer, we recommend discussing your case with an employment lawyer early on. The attorneys at Rastegar Law Group have over 100 years of combined experience handling employment cases in California. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.