Communication between California employers and their employees could prevent court battles over the right to take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The case of a man fired by a credit union hinged upon insufficient communication. Although a federal district court granted a summary judgment in the employer's favor, based upon the employee not providing enough details when taking leave, the appeals court disagreed because the employer should have made a greater effort to gather information. This ruling will allow the case to heard by a jury.
Laws obligate employers in California to treat employees and job applicants fairly and not discriminate because of age, sex, disability, race or religion. Recent increases in societal tension regarding religion, as shown by attacks on Jewish centers and the U.S. president's pursuit of travel bans against some Muslim countries, could spill over into workplaces and expose employers to liability for violating workers' rights. Clearly written employee handbooks and consistent application of nondiscriminatory policies could enable employers to avoid legal problems. These policies should expressly mention religion and tactics for avoiding discrimination.
California workers who have been following the Sterling Jewelry Co. discrimination case may be interested to learn that, according to a March 13 report, the case has been upgraded to a class action arbitration. The action involves at least 69,000 employees.
Most California workers are protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows leave from work for personal medical reasons or to take care of family members with medical needs. Though the law provides for medical leave for workers and protects them from retaliatory action by employers when they take leave, employers do have certain rights under the law, including the right to require that certain procedures be followed by employees when taking or requesting FMLA leave.
Pregnant workers in California may benefit from learning what is considered workplace pregnancy discrimination. In some cases, this type of discrimination may be hard to identify and prove.