There are many factors that go into making personnel decisions. An individual's skill, experience, and motivation can all play a major role in deciding whether to hire, fire, or promote an individual. However, employers need to be careful that they are not basing their decisions on characteristics that would be deemed discriminatory in nature. Doing so could lead to legal action that can be damaging to a business's finances and reputation.
Discrimination and harassment are all too common occurrences in the workplace. Despite efforts made by federal and state governments, as well as nonprofit organizations and even some businesses, bad actors continue to perpetuate hostile work environments throughout California. Although there are laws designed to protect workers who have the strength and courage to step forward and take action against those who have harassed them or discriminated against them, oftentimes simply bringing these actions to an employer's attention can result in retaliation.
Friction in the workplace can not only make it challenging for work to be conducted, but it can stifle relationships and lead to allegations of illegal acts. Quite often this is seen in the context of discrimination and harassment, as well as retaliation. Of course, it is illegal for an employer in California to discriminate against a job applicant or employee based on classifications such as age, race and religion, but it is also illegal for an employer to retaliate when allegations of discrimination or harassment are brought to its attention or are reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
No one should feel unsafe or unwelcome in the workplace. Sadly, though, many workers in California face hostile work environments every day. Some are subjected to sexual harassment while others face discrimination. The harm caused by these workplaces can be dramatic, too. Individuals can end up seeing their hours reduced, their opportunities for advancement disappear and sometimes their jobs lost. Also, they are often humiliated and embarrassed. This is unacceptable, which is why there are laws that protect workers who have been subjected to this type of treatment.
California workplaces are meant to be fair and safe for all. Even though that basic concept is well-known, people with biases and outdated practices will still discriminate against others in the workplace. For employees, this can mean being passed over for jobs, promotions or raises, and it can even lead to a hostile work environment when an individual is demeaned and humiliated in the workplace. For employers, claims of discrimination can have a profound financial impact. It is easy to see how there is a lot on the line for both parties when claims of discrimination are raised.
Recently on the blog we discussed breach of contract and the remedies that can be sought in the event that a contract is breached. Contractual issues are important and make up a significant portion of business law issues in California, but they do not incorporate all legal conflicts that can arise in the employment law context. Instead, there may be issues with regards to wage and hour laws and even matters related to harassment and discrimination.
Contracts form the backbone of the business world. Without them, businesses in California couldn't rely on their supplies, which would make meeting demand difficult, if not impossible. There would also be a wide swing in prices since manufacturing costs wouldn't be controlled, and businesses and individuals could go back on their word at the last minute without ramifications. In essence, without enforceable contracts, the business world would be chaotic.
There are numerous ways that businesses in California can seek to attract talent, and potential employees can negotiate the terms of their employment. The most common way is through the creation of an employment contract. Prior to entering into one of these agreements, it is critical to understand the types of terms that may be included in them. If you don't, then you may find yourself signing off on something that could end up working to your detriment.
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