The law could view a California employer as retaliating against an employee if the company terminates the person's employment only a short time after the person engages in protected activity. A ruling from a federal appeals court illustrates this concept of temporal proximity, which indicates that one action caused another action soon thereafter.
The 1963 Equal Pay Act requires employers in California and across the country to pay men and women equally when they have equal responsibilities and perform duties that require the same amount of skill, experience and effort. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is tasked with administering and enforcing the nation's workplace civil rights laws, and the federal agency filed a lawsuit on June 18 that alleges a Nebraska bank violated the Equal Pay Act by paying a female relationship manager less than a man who performed the same job.
Employers in California and across the United States should be aware of changes that took place in June 2017 regarding the regulation of independent contractors and joint employment. The new Department of Labor under President Trump has rejected the Administrator's Interpretations established under Obama. While these changes are not law and do not affect an employer's legal responsibilities, they may indicate a shift in priorities with the new DOL.
In May, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit sent a sexual harassment case back to a lower court for trial. In its ruling, it rejected a claim by the defendant, that was the plaintiff's employer, that the case should not go forward because there was no required EEOC charge of quid pro quo harassment. California employees might be interested to hear that the appeals court based its decision on the fact that no label is required to proceed with a sexual harassment claim.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects California residents over the age of 40 from age discrimination. This federal law went into effect in 1967, but sometimes what appears to be age discrimination is difficult to prove in court. New legislation is pending in Congress that could make it easier for someone to prove age discrimination.