Any company's corporate culture should be one in which employees feel motivated to do their best work. All employees, despite any protected characteristic, should feel at ease and be treated equally in the workplace. A former employee in Zillow's California office is claiming that she suffered a hostile work environment, was the victim of discrimination and suffered a wrongful termination.
California is at the forefront of many employee rights issues. Discrimination in the workplace is not tolerated and may even be punishable by law. Most people think of discrimination as relating to race, gender, sexual orientation and the like. One point that many people may not consider is the unfair judgment that those with a criminal record may face. However, there are specific ways that employers are and are not allowed to handle employees or prospective employees who have criminal records, as outlined by employee rights.
California is a leader among the United States in ensuring that employees are treated fairly by their employers. Their guidelines concerning religious discrimination are much more strict than federal standards, as they make specific declarations that employers are not to discriminate against employees for their dress or how they groom themselves. Unfortunately, this does not mean that instances of employment discrimination don't still occur. Recently a woman who identifies as Muslim says that she was discriminated against by her employer, in violation of state laws.
The state of California is considered an “at-will” employment state. This means that an employer can fire any employee for any reason, whenever the employer decides to do so. However, employers are prevented from terminating employment for specific reasons that are considered illegal. Wrongful termination laws exist to protect employees, though many workers may not be aware of their full rights in this area.
Employees in California have the right to a safe work environment where they can thrive in their chosen profession. This not only refers to physical safety of employees, but to their right to work in workplace where they do not feel threatened or intimidated by employers or other employees. Sexual harassment can be very upsetting to the person who experiences it, though they may not be aware of how to recognize it or how it pertains to employee rights.
When an employee bears witness to company action that he or she believes is wrong, they may not question reporting the incident to the proper authorities. Unfortunately, employees are sometimes unfairly retaliated against for this behavior, commonly called “whistleblowing.” They may be subject to unfair treatment at their workplace or even fired, all for attempting to do the right thing. There is opportunity for recourse, in that employees so affected can file a wrongful termination lawsuit against their former company. This is the situation one California nurse found herself in recently.
At times, workers may have disputes with their employers. Sometimes these disputes may be resolved by having a simple discussion while others are more complicated and result in a lawsuit. If an arbitration agreement exists between a California worker and his or her employer, one may not be able to take the matter to court in the event of an employment dispute.
A man who has worked as a Catholic high school teacher since 1998 was terminated from his position for reasons he believes are discriminatory. The former California teacher lost his job shortly after he married his same-sex partner. He recently filed a wrongful termination claim against the school.
Many employees are discriminated against due to their race or sexual orientation. These employees have been subjected to hostile work environments and a strong possibility of losing their jobs. President Obama will be signing an order that bans federal employers in California and throughout the country from employment discrimination in regard to being gay or transgender.
After recorded conversations leaked, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, was banned from the NBA. Donald Sterling filed a wrongful termination claim in a California courtroom against the NBA and the Commissioner. He claimed that his constitutional rights were violated and that the contract was breached.