Civil rights in the workplace

Girls in Tech x Gainsight: Know your Legal Rights in the Workplace

The #MeToo movement has put workplace sexual harassment in the spotlight, with numerous high-profile sexual harassment and assault allegations against powerful leaders in multiple industries. #Metoo has helped shed light on, and create a public conversation surrounding workplace issues that often go unreported. As more and more people step forward to share their stories, and… read more

New California laws frown on Secret Settlements

Confidentiality clauses of one sort or another have been ubiquitous in the workplace for years. They are found in employment contracts,

I think I’m being sexually harassed at work. What should I do?

First, you should know that you’re not alone.  Unfortunately,

If I Come Out As #Metoo, Could I Get Sued?

The reports of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct set off a cascade of

What You Need to Know About the New Parity in Pay Ordinance

San Francisco’s Parity in Pay Ordinance Yesterday, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signed the

March 8th: International Women’s Day

The first “National Women’s Day” was observed in the United States in 1909, to recognize the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York.  A year later, Women’s Day was recognized internationally at a conference in Copenhagen, where over 100 women from 17 countries created a worldwide day of celebration to advocate for women’s rights. In… read more

New California Law Calls for Equal Pay for Women: Understanding Your Rights

From Robin Wright making news for

U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Scope of Religious Accommodation in Abercrombie & Fitch Hijab Case

The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced that it would review the Tenth Circuit’s decision in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch.  731 F.3d 1106 (10th Cir. 2013).  In that case, the Tenth Circuit held that an employer is not liable under Title VII for failing to accommodate an applicant’s religious dress unless the applicant explicitly notifies… read more

My coworkers are harassing me. What are my rights?

Many people often ask me, “Is it harassment if my coworker makes racist remarks?”  The answer: maybe. Not every mean or rude comment qualifies as harassment. On the other hand, many employees suffer long periods of unlawful harassment or sexual harassment from their fellow employees but are unaware of what they can do about it…. read more

Supreme Court to Clarify Employers’ Duty to Provide Pregnancy Accommodations Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Two days ago, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of a former United Parcel Service employee’s claim that the company violated the federal

Salas v. Sierra Chemical: California Supreme Court Upholds Undocumented Immigrants’ Rights to Bring Suit Under State Laws

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court decided Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co., affirming that the protections of California employment law are available to undocumented immigrants. In 2002, the California Legislature enacted Senate Bill 1818 in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB limiting the ability of undocumented employees fired… read more

Coming Soon: Renewed Confusion Over California Paid Family Leave Benefits Law

California PFL In 2004,

California Court of Appeals Invalidates Contractual Provision Limiting FEHA Time to Sue

In its first published ruling on the subject, a California appeals court has rejected as unreasonable and as against public policy an employer’s attempt to contractually shorten the amount of time an employee has to sue under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).  Pursuant to the FEHA’s statutory requirements, codified at Cal. Gov. Code… read more

New Barriers to Removal of PAGA Actions

California’s Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (the “PAGA”) permits employees to step into the shoes of the state and sue their employers for civil penalties for Labor Code violations when the Labor and Workforce Development Agency declines to investigate the violations or issue citations. Under the PAGA, employees may bring suit on behalf of… read more

San Francisco Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance Takes Effect

American society today is engaged in an ongoing cultural conversation about work-life balance and how anyone – and particularly women – can “have it all.”  In an effort to address the rapidly changing demographics of the nation’s workforce, San Francisco recently became the first American city to pass a “right to request” law, joining Vermont,… read more

Say Yes to the [Religious] Dress!

Christmas time raises the question for many employers: what is the role of religion in the workplace?  Although questions such as whether a Christmas tree in the hall is appropriate or whether it should be a “holiday” or “Christmas” party can be challenging, there’s one question that the California legislature has recently made easier for… read more

Ninth Circuit: Employers Must Reimburse Guest Workers’ Travel and Immigration-Related Expenses in First Week on Job

In Rivera v. Peri & Sons Farms, Inc., No. 11-17365, 2013 WL 5992255 (Nov. 13, 2013), the Ninth Circuit ruled that employers of agricultural guest workers participating in the H-2A visa program must reimburse most travel, recruitment, and immigration-related expenses to H-2A workers in their first week on the job, deepening a circuit split on the… read more

Five Key Rights Of California’s Pregnant Employees

According to a 

What Are PAGA Penalties?

PAGA Overview California’s Private Attorney General Act of 2004-or

Is An Employer Required to Provide Employement References?

Employers are not under any obligation to provide employment references for former employees. Providing employment references may leave former employers open to legal liability from the former employee and the prospective employer. For example, if the employer makes disparaging comments about a former employee and as a result, the employee is not hired for the… read more

Does Your Employee Have A Medical Condition or a Poor Performance Problem?

Generally, employers are under no obligation to determine whether or not an employee’s substandard performance may be caused by a

Accommodations For Employees With Disabilities: Your Employer’s Responsibility

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),

Accommodations for Religious Practices in the Workplace

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes

What Responsibilities Does Your Employer Have Under the FMLA?

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (

What Happens During an OSHA Inspection?

What is OSHA? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal body in charge of overseeing employer compliance with workplace health and safety regulations under the OSH Act. To ensure compliance with these regulations, OSHA sends out compliance officers to inspect job sites and investigate claims of dangerous and hazardous working conditions. OSHA… read more

Employer Liability for an Employee’s Bad Acts

In some instances, employers may be held liable for the injuries and damages caused by those they employ. Generally, it will have to be proven that the employer knew or should have known that employee’s conduct could result in injury to a third party before an employer can be held liable for an employee’s acts…. read more

Know Your Family and Medical Leave Rights

What is the Family and Medical Leave Act? Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (

Are California Employers Required to Provide a Smoke-Free Workplace?

Although second-hand tobacco smoke is considered by many to be a health hazard, federal law generally does not require employers to provide smoke-free workplaces. However, local city or county laws can choose to regulate smoking laws in the workplace. A Smoke-Free Workplace Only in certain situations must an employer eliminate smoking from its facilities. For… read more

What Should an Anti-Harassment Policy Contain?

All employers should have a written anti-harassment policy and a corresponding complaint and investigation procedure. Employers who do not have such a policy may open themselves up to liability in instances when a supervisor is charged with harassing an employee. Additionally, employees who have been the subject of harassment have a duty to report it… read more