Some States That Are Primed to Approve a Wage Increase This Year

Last year, Governor Edmund Gerald “Jerry” Brown, Jr. of California passed into law a legislation that would increase the state’s current per-hour minimum wage of $8.00 to $9.00, which will take effect this July. According to a labor lawyer in Los Angeles, it also mandates another wage increase come 2016, in which the minimum wage will be raised to $10.00. With the passage of the law, California was one of the five states that approved an increase in the state minimum wage last year, joining Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington, DC.

Now that the nation’s capital and the five aforementioned states have done it, it is expected that a number of states would do the same for this year. In fact, as many as 11 states are on the cusp of passing laws this year that would increase their state minimum wages that would exceed the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, according to the projections of the National Employment Law Project or NELP.

 

Meanwhile, here are three states that are believed to be in great position to pass such laws anytime this year:

 

  • The State of Hawaii. Currently, the state where the President of the United States was born has a state minimum wage that is exactly the same as the federal minimum wage. This year, it is believed that it will be raising its per-hour rate to $9.25, which would increase each year based on the movement of the Hawaii’s Consumer Price Index (CPI). There is a major consensus between the state’s House and Senate with regard to the approval of the increase, though they thrown in different rates.

 

  • The State of Massachusetts. The Bay State’s minimum wage stands at $8.00. An increase is imminent, and it can happen in any of the two: (1) a ballot initiative would hopefully raise the state’s wage to $10.50, and (2) the state Senate’s members would agree to raise the minimum wage to $11.00.

 

  • The State of Maryland. There is no stopping the Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, in going after the state minimum wage increase. From the current $7.25, it is planned to be raised to either $10.10 per hour (if enough signatures are met in the ballot initiative) or $11.00 (if the Senate approves of the bill).

 

These only prove how state governments are doing the wage increase by themselves, not waiting for the federal government to act on raising the federal minimum wage. Recently, however, the President himself had already expressed his all-out support for the increase of the federal per-hour rate, from the current $7.25 to $10.10. A lot of people, political and economic analysts alike, will be observing these plans in the coming months.

New Minimum Wage Laws in California: That Badly-needed Shot In the Arm For Minimum Wage Earners

You know that minimum wage is the lowest hourly, daily, or monthly salary one can get. However in some states, these levels are so low, they won’t suffice to get you your daily needs. Every day, life gets tougher. The needs of your family grow. The prices of basic goods and needs shoot up and yet, the salaries of employees cannot keep up with this trend. Well, at least, something was done and new laws about minimum wages were implemented.

Image from Lauren Nicole via Getty Images

Image from Lauren Nicole via Getty Images

Minimum Wage Adjustments: Finally

It has been a while since the minimum wage in California was adjusted. Since then, the prices of the goods that you need to survive in life have changed every so often. While there were instances when there were price cuts in some products, most of the price adjustments are going up, making your already small minimum wage, even smaller. And so, assembly bills have been filed, and now made in to law to finally raise these wages.

California’s New Minimum Wage Law: What has Changed?

Assembly Bill 10 was recently signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown. This is an amendment to some of the provisions or the existing laws to help California workers get the right amount of wages, even at its lowest levels. Here are the changes that this amendment brings:

  • Rising of the current minimum wage of $8 per hour to $9 per hour to be implemented on the 1st of July 2014. The second trench of the adjustments will be made on the first of January 2016, which then again will be increased to $10 per hour.
  • With the higher wages also come higher penalties for violations of the law, strengthening labor laws that are currently being implemented.

What these Mean To Minimum Wage Earners?

The new minimum wages give workers that badly-needed bump in their salaries that can help increase the quality of their life. Such is a fitting reward for low-earning individuals that give their heart out for their jobs. Moreover, with the help of an employment lawyer in California, filing claims of violations against employers are made easier, and penalties pegged higher, giving poor victims the power to demand for the right wages that they deserve.

Certainly, there would still be some crooked employers that will try to take advantage of the ignorance of others when it comes to new legislation such as this. That is why this law will significantly help the people in putting an end to wage-related problems in the workplace.

What’s New for 2014? Employment Laws That You Should Know

In life, nothing but change is constant. No two things are ever the same and you have no choice but to keep up with these changes. Such is the same when it comes to employment laws. Every year, assemblymen and senators try to come up with amendments or new employment laws to promote the rights and welfare of every worker in California. And so, for you to be able to take advantage of these laws, you must first familiarize yourself with them so you can stand up and fight for your rights whenever there is a need for it.

 

Here is a list of the new employment and labor laws that were recently passed, signed into law, and are set to be implemented:

 

Paid Family leave Rights Amendment. This amendment, once enacted, will give workers up to six weeks of wage replacement benefits. Now, workers will have time off to take care of a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, domestic partner, or to bond with a newborn, or a child that has been recently placed through adoption or foster care. Employees who need time to care for sick siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, as well as parents-in-law are now allowed to take paid leaves of absence through this amendment.

 

Minimum Wage Increase. When enacted, this law will raise the minimum wage of every employee in California from the current $8.00 per hour to $9.00 per hour in July 1, 2014. Furthermore, the increased minimum wage will again be increased to $10.00 per hour beginning January 1, 2016. However, this increase does not just apply to nonexempt workers, but the people who work under the administrative, professional and executive exemptions in California.

 

Changes in the Definition of Sexual Harassment. According to this new law, sexual harassment now doesn’t have to be motivated by sexual desire. While this may make the definition of sexual harassment a bit difficult to understand, it offers new protection to people who have been sexually harassed.

 

Protections for victims of crimes. Under the new law, discrimination against victims of domestic violence or sexual assault, and now, includes stalking victims. Additionally, employers are now required to reasonably accommodate victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking by allowing these people to attend court proceedings for their on-going cases.

 

Protections for Immigrants. Immigrant workers who report about labor code violations will now have protections under Assembly Bill 263. According to this law, immigrants who have complaints cannot be reported to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement for this is considered an “unfair immigration-related practices”.

 

Amendment to the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Under Assembly Bill 556, military and veteran status becomes a protected category. This means that veterans and military people are now protected against discrimination, just like those people with different race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, and sexual orientation.

 

Now that these new employment and labor laws are being implemented, there would be better protections for the average Joe and Jane who work hard every day to earn a decent living. If you ever fall victims to these new laws, do not hesitate to stand up and fight for your rights. You should immediately hire a good employment or labor lawyer to help you with your claims. Thanks to these new laws, you are now more protected, better than ever, against abuse, harassment, and discrimination in the workplace.

 

 

You may also find this helpful “Number of Wage and Hour Claim Soar High in 2013

State, Local Agencies in California No Longer Have to Ask Job Applicants’ Criminal History

People with criminal histories looking for jobs in local and state agencies in California are now breathing their collective sigh of relief after Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a new legislation last October 10. The newly-signed Assembly Bill 218which was authored by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento), “would prohibit a state or local agency from asking an applicant to disclose information regarding a criminal conviction… until after the applicant’s qualifications for the position have been determined to meet the requirements for the position.” Prior to the bill’s signage into law, job seekers are immediately rejected during initial applications after disclosing their criminal pasts. The law will take effect July next year.

Asking about criminal records or running background checks is lawful, but only after first determining if an applicant’s qualifications meet the requirements of the job. Instances wherein this restriction can be waived off are for job openings in law enforcement, positions which entail working with children, the elderly or the disabled, and other sensitive positions in which criminal background checks are done at the employers’ discretion.

Criminal History

California Employers No Longer Have to Ask Job Applicants’ Criminal History

Also, this new law is yet another victory for groups and advocates pushing for the civil rights of former offenders. According to Assemblyman Dickinson, approximately one-fourth of adults living in California have had an arrest or a conviction record.

Additionally, advocates also mentioned that questioning someone’s criminal history during the initial job application had an effect during the time when the unemployment rate in the U.S. rose to 7 percent. Add in the fact that 65 million Americans have served jail sentences. They also said that questioning someone’s criminal past during the initial job application has a disproportionate effect on minorities.

Incidentally, the State of California isn’t the only state that has such a law. Eight other states have similar laws, with New Jersey possibly going next in line. Minnesota and Rhode Island were the two states that legalized similar bills earlier this year, in May and July, respectively.

Meanwhile, a Los Angeles employment lawyer commented on the recent ruling, stating that AB 218 is one of the laws that make the State of California more applicant- and employee-friendly states in the U.S. According to the top attorney who handles employment and labor law cases, ex-offenders who are in need of jobs will now have a chance to prove themselves to perform work in line with the minimum qualifications.

Sources:
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/State-job-applications-won-t-ask-about-criminal-4885798.php
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-11/california-gives-break-to-job-seekers-with-criminal-past.html

Admission of a Transgender Professor Shocks California School Administrators

Schools are institutions that are expected to guide children. They don’t just teach kids academic stuff that makes them equipped to take on the world when they grow up. These institutions, serve as our children’s second home, teaching them the importance of many values on how to be good citizens of the nation. Respect is one of those important values that kids must be taught. Respect can make one humble, responsible, loving, and understanding. This very important trait can help people better accept people for who they are and what they believe in even if it is against ours.

 

An educational institution teaches good manners and the right conduct to young kids. Preventing discrimination is one of those values. However, how can one parent believe that your children will get the right values if the very institution that is expected to teach them what’s right can’t practice such virtues? In Azusa, California, a professor from a local Christian College is about to lose his job after coming out that he is a transgender.

 

Adam Ackley has been a systematic theology professor at the Azusa Pacific University for 15 years now. He has been known in the private Christian college as “Heather” – until he made the big reveal, According to him, while he has struggled for years living as a married woman, he now divulges his true sexuality, that he was a transgender man and that he is now going through a painful divorce process.

 

Ackley, has decided to let APU know about his plans for a legal name change but school officials fear that his true identity and sexuality may have an effect on future admissions and donations that the school might receive. The school released a statement that this matter is being discussed to ensure that all parties will be “treated with dignity and respect”, making it a “confidential matter”. However, Ackley believes that he might be replaced soon, leaving his students in tears, devastated.

 

Legal implications

 

As for APC, terminating the services of Ackley, just because of his sexuality, is clearly a case of gender discrimination in the workplace. According to a Los Angeles lawyer, discriminating against one person because of his or her gender is a clear violation of labor laws in the state. If a person becomes a victim of such injustice, he or she can file a complaint to make an institution liable for such acts of injustice. And so, the students of the school, their parents, the LGBT community, and everybody else will be eagerly waiting for APC’s decision. Will they do the right thing and decide based on their conscience?

LGBT Community Celebrates Over Historic Court Decision

In this day and age, members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community are widely accepted in different sectors of society. However, this does not mean that they are completely safe from different kinds of discrimination based on their gender. That is why the government has put in place anti-discrimination laws to help protect every worker in America from different kinds of abuse and discrimination.

 

Transgender victory

The courts made history as it made a ruling in favor of a transgender plaintiff. Mia Macy, a transgender woman filed discrimination charges against one federal contractor in Maryland after she has been discriminated because of her gender. According to Macy, she applied for a job and got notified that she would be receiving a position at the company’s laboratory. However, after disclosing that she would be transitioning from a male to a female, the company later on said that the position for her was cut. Not long after, she received information that the job was awarded to somebody else.

 

LGBT community celebrations

Tico Almeida, president of the LGBT organization “Freedom to Work” lauded this historic decision by the courts, proving that transgender people like everybody from all genders are equally protected by the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. He added that this is the first time that a case of anti-transgender harassment was investigated where a court ruling was made in favor of the transgender employee. This is a landmark victory for the LGBT community as this proves that you should not let yourself fall victims to these kinds of discrimination as the laws and the courts will be there to defend poor victims to uphold and fight for their rights.

 

In California, employment discrimination has no place in the workplace. That is because the state has many employment and labor laws to protect the rights of every worker in the state. So if you have been a victim of such forms of abuse, harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, you should consult a lawyer in California and prepare a discrimination claim against those who violated your rights. People, no matter what their gender preference is, deserve the same amount of respect as everybody. That is why you should be the first person to defend and protect your rights against those who plan to trample on it.

Dating Company Settles Sex Discrimination

Usually, when one mentions the term “discrimination based on sex” a person would probably think that the victim of such act is a woman. Why is that so? It probably has something to do about women being treated as second-class citizens back in the day. Actually, there are still countries in some parts of the world where women are treated differently from men. But in the “land of the freeare there still victims of sex discrimination?

 

Men being the subject of sex discrimination

 

What many people don’t know is that sex discrimination is not limited to women. While more women come forward as victims of discrimination, men actually do fall victims for sex discrimination as well. Just recently, a man filed a sex discrimination claim against a company offering matchmaking services. Through the help of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the man filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit against the company for refusing to hire men as dating directors and inside sales representatives. Moreover, the firm retaliated against one of their former human resources director as retaliation for her opposition to the discriminative hiring policies of the company. Through the assistance of the EEOC, the male victim was able to settle the case with the company. Moreover, this settlement paved the way for the company to change its ways and stop discrimination in the firm.

 

The EEOC’s helping hand to victims of

discrimination

 

The EEOC is working very hard to be able to adhere to its mandate of putting an end to gender discrimination in the workplace. Any form discrimination whether on the basis of one’s sex, race, national origin, color, disability, age, or religion is a violation of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. With that being the EEOC’s main reason for existence, this recent settlement is one great victory not just for the agency and the complainant, but for all the victims of discrimination.

 

If you have been a victim of age, race, disability, national origin, religion, or sex discrimination, do not just stand there and do nothing. Get the help of a good Los Angeles lawyer to help you. Do not let these employers take advantage of you and trample on your rights.

California Bill Protecting Domestic Violence Victims from Workplace Discrimination Advances in State Assembly

The California State Assembly’s Committee on Judiciary last week passed a measure that would provide employment protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The Senate Bill 400 was already referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee after a 6-1 vote last June 25.

 

The proposed bill, which is sponsored by Senators Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), and Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), would require employers to make “reasonable efforts” to provide protection to victims from their abusers or stalkers by changing a work phone number or implementing a safety plan in the workplace, among others.

 

If signed into law, California will become the seventh state to have a legislation that will make it illegal for employers to discriminate or retaliate against victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault in any aspect of employment, following Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island. However, California Gov. Jerry Brown is yet to make a stand on this proposed bill.

 

At the time of the passage of the bill at the Assembly Floor, a California teacher, Carie Charlesworth, testified before the committee in favor of the bill. Charlesworth, a second-grade teacher of 14 years at Holy Trinity School in El Cajon, was terminated from her position last April after a January 28 incident wherein her estranged husband went to campus.

 

The man, who verbally and emotionally abused Charlesworth for several years, was arrested following a preventive lockdown at the campus. She was put on leave, but her four children were not allowed to attend classes. She was later fired.

 

Before the committee, she explained as to why fear of termination is definitely a concern for victims of abuse like her. “Victims need to be able to speak up about what is happening so they can get the help they need to leave their abusive situation,” she said.

 

Aside from the scarcity of employment protection for abuse victims on the state level, bills are yet to make strides despite frequent introductions from federal legislators. A proposed bill called the Security and Financial Empowerment Act had been introduced in the House last March 15, but is yet to be referred to a committee.

 

Meanwhile, employment lawyers praised the SB 400’s passage in the State Assembly, saying that this proposed bill is a step on the right direction in protecting the welfare of abuse victims in the workplace.

Answers for Your Pregnancy Leave Questions

Pregnancy is such a delicate time for any expecting mother as the unborn baby inside her tummy needs the most care, to make sure that the baby will be born into this world healthy. With an abundance of women in the workplace, including expectant moms, the government is trying their best to come up with and implement laws to help protect the rights, health, and safety of pregnant women in the workplace.

 

On January 1, 2013, the state of California has come up with new CA pregnancy regulations. Here are some of the changes made to help soon-to-be moms and companies better understand these new regulations.

 

•    Pregnant women are allowed to take up to four months of leave of absence. While most employers allow up to 16 weeks of leave, the state clarified that the actual conversion of the maximum allowable 4 months of leave is 17 and 1/3 weeks. However, the total number of leave days or hours will also depend on the attendance of the employee and the leaves that she has used up during her pregnancy.

 
•    With the new regulation in place, employers should give advance written notice to their employees that concern their rights and responsibilities when taking a pregnancy leave. Employers can check two notices, Notice A (For those with less than 50 employees) and Notice B (For those with more than 50 employees) from http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/res/docs/Publications/NOTICE%20A.pdf and http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/res/docs/Publications/NOTICE%20B.pdf respectively. Also, employees must distribute the notice via posting it in a conspicuous space,  giving it directly to the pregnant employee, by publishing it in a rewritten or updated employee handbook, or by distributing it annually. If an employer must also provide a translated version of the notice if their workforce comprises of more than 10 percent that speaks other languages than English.

 
•    Pregnant women can still use pregnancy leaves before they actually give birth. According to a Los Angeles attorney, this is mentioned in the law. New regulations say that a woman can use leave credits while she is disabled by her pregnancy.

 
•    A woman who has a “perceived pregnancy” or someone who’s pregnant, or suffering from a medical condition related to pregnancy should also be allowed to take a leave.

 
•    It is the responsibility of the employer to provide the full 4 months of leave and ensure that the reason why a female employee is taking a leave is really because of pregnancy.

 
•    An employee can ask for adjustments from her employer before she takes a pregnancy is it is really needed.

 
•    The pregnant employee’s health coverage must be maintained by the employer. Also, the employer must keep the job position of the pregnant female employee as much as possible unless the employer needs to layoff workers.

 
•    It is the responsibility of the pregnant employee to provide her employer the necessary medical certification when requesting for any leave of absence related to her condition.

 

 

An employer is bound to follow the following changes in the regulation or the female employee can ask for the help of employment lawyers to file the necessary complaints against the former. With the challenges that come with a pregnant female worker, companies must extend every kind of help that they could to make this very difficult situation easier for their workers.

Restaurant Owner Sued For Sexually Harassing Female Employees

Everybody just wants to have a source of livelihood.  Sources of income that will help them get by their everyday lives. Help them make both ends meet and buy them the things they need for everyday living. While some workplaces will let you do that without much fuss, there are workplaces where doing that is not as easy. Some colleagues, or supervisors in the workplace have the tendency of taking advantage of one worker, especially the female employees.

Threats to female employees

Female workers are the most prone individuals to harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Although laws mandating the fair treatment of women exist, there are still individuals who refer to women as “the weaker sex”. Despite the many contributions of women to society, some people tend to look down at women and take advantage of their weakness. One perfect example is the case that involves a female employee of a company that runs several Italian restaurants in the country. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued the company after a woman complained of sexual harassment and retaliation that she had gone through in her previous workplace. The restaurant owner allegedly subjected her and other female employees to unwelcome and offensive sexual harassment. The suspect was alleged to have touched the buttocks, lower backs and shoulders of the victim. Moreover, the suspect was said to have rubbed his genitalia against the buttocks of the female employees. Finally, the employer-suspect made comments about the bodies of the employees, calling them “hot”, “sexy”, other sexually suggestive remarks, sexual innuendos, and even asking for massages.

Fighting for women’s rights in the office

The EEOC, among other government agencies as well as California attorneys are working together to help stop these kinds of abuse. Agencies are implementing laws to prevent the abuse and harassment of women in the workplace. However, the fight can’t be won without victims surfacing and standing up for their rights. If victims won’t do something about the injustices done against them, they wouldn’t be able to stop such acts of harassment and abuse.

A California wrongful termination lawyer reminds the victims that they should immediately approach the authorities in the event that such abuse happens to you. By being courageous enough, and fighting for your rights, you will be able to get these abusive people liable for their actions and you will get the justice that you deserve.