The federal government has failed to act on laws that protect employees against sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace, but many states have laws that do give employees these rights. In California, both sexual orientation discrimination and gender identity discrimination is prohibited in both private and public workspaces. If you are an employer attempting to craft a fair and legally binding policy for your workplace or an employee who believes you are being targeted at work because of your sexual orientation, contact a labor attorney in San Jose, CA, for employment law advice. Here is what you need to know about this area of employment law .
Public vs. Private Workplaces
Federal law prohibits sexual orientation discrimination against employees of the federal government, and many states have similar laws that protect public sector employees of state and local governments. On the federal level, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009 has been proposed to Congress and has been pending since its inception. As this law, which includes restrictions against sexual orientation discrimination in private workplaces, has not been passed, there is no federal protection. Employees must consult with a labor attorney to understand the laws in their state if they feel they are being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.
Some companies have policies that outlaw sexual orientation discrimination. These policies can be more severe than the state laws regarding discrimination, but they cannot be less strict. The state law sets the minimum standard. If employees violate these policies and discriminate against people based on sexual orientation, they can be subject to corrective actions and termination. Employees who feel that their companies are not adhering to their own guidelines can consult with an attorney to see if they could have a legal case.
Other Discrimination Protections
In some cases, a labor attorney may pursue damages against an employer for sexual orientation discrimination using another kind of discrimination claim. For instance, an attorney may file a sexual harassment or defamation claim for an issue that could also be considered sexual orientation discrimination.
Most people are aware that employment law protects them from being harassed at work based on gender, religion, race, and other protected statuses, but they are often less knowledgeable about what the law says about political speech at work. If you think that your rights are being violated at work due to political speech, contact an attorney for employment law advice in San Jose, CA . This area of law can be complex, so it is important to review your situation with an experienced employment lawyer. Here is what you need to know.
Can employers restrict political speech?
California Labor Code section 1101 prohibits employers from making, adopting, or enforcing any rule, regulation, or policy that forbids or controls, or tends to control, their employees’ political activities. Labor Code section 1102 makes it illegal for an employer to threaten employees with discharge as a means of coercing or influencing employees’ political activities.
“Political activities” are broadly defined under the law, and include displaying an campaign sticker, wearing armbands, advocating for union membership, or criticizing public officials.
Employers can generally put restraints on discussions and activities that happen during work hours while employees are on the clock. However, employers must be careful when they are restricting this kind of discussions, because federal laws protect employees’ rights to discuss labor issues. This means policies on these issues must be carefully crafted to avoid potential claims.
Can you ask your employer to force a coworker to stop talking about politics?
Even if your workspace doesn’t have a rule restricting political speech at work, your employer may still be willing to intervene if a coworker’s political speech if it is bothersome to you. Although there may be no legal requirement for your coworker to restrict his or her political speech, your employer is unlikely to want politically contentious issues to interfere with working relationships, so he or she may step in when an employee’s political discourse if offending coworkers.
Can employers discriminate against workers based on political opinions?
The protections for political speech and affiliation in the workplace vary from state to state. In California, employers cannot discriminate against workers based on political speech and affiliation, but in other states, they can. If you feel like you have been discriminated against for your political beliefs, contact an employment law attorney to find out what your rights are and what next steps to take.
Arbitration is a legally binding way to settle disputes outside of the courtroom. When you hire a lawyer to provide arbitration services in San Jose, CA , he or she will represent you in the arbitration proceedings as your dispute is considered.
Watch this video to learn more about how arbitration services work. Arbitration is more formal than mediation, but it is not the same as going through a trial. Each party is sworn in before providing testimony about their cases, and each party may represent themselves or be represented by an attorney. If the parties have agreed to binding arbitration services, they must agree to stand by the decision of the arbitrator. For non-binding arbitration, the decision is binding unless one of the parties disputes it. If a non-binding arbitration decision is disputed, the case then moves to court.
Frequently, labor lawsuits arise not out of malice but out of unintentional errors on the part of the employer. If you are unsure if your practices adhere to appropriate labor laws, consult with an employer attorney in San Jose, CA, who can provide employment law advice and help you avoid labor lawsuits.
Start protecting your company from labor lawsuits by recognizing the most common mistakes of employers, including overtime errors, expense reimbursement mistakes, and errors involving break times and work off the clock. When you work with an employer lawyer, he or she can help you create an employee handbook that details your company’s procedures in a way that provides protection against lawsuits. Your lawyer can also help with contracts and terminations to ensure you stay on the right side of the law. Even if you haven’t experienced any issues in the past, consulting an employer lawyer periodically so that you stay up to date on new labor laws can be helpful.