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  • An estimated 0.3% of adults are transgender. Many face pervasive harassment, discrimination, violence, and abuse in every aspect of their lives, including at work, in housing, education, healthcare, and personal relationships. Consider the discrimination suffered by transgender individuals at work. According to a comprehensive 2011 report titled “Injustice At Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey“:

    • 90% of transgender individuals surveyed reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job or took actions like hiding who they are to avoid it.
    • 47% said they had experienced an adverse job outcome, such as being fired, not hired or denied a promotion because of being transgender or gender non-conforming.
    • Over one-quarter (26%) reported that they had lost a job due to being transgender or gender non-conforming and 50% were harassed.
    • Large majorities attempted to avoid discrimination by hiding their gender or gender transition (71%) or delaying their gender transition (57%).
    • Overall, 16% said they had been compelled to work in the underground economy for income (such as doing sex work or selling drugs).
    • Respondents who had lost a job due to bias also experienced ruinous consequences such as four times the rate of homelessness, 70% more current drinking or misuse of drugs to cope with mistreatment, 85% more incarceration, more than double the rate working in the underground economy, and more than double the HIV infection rate, compared to those who did not lose a job due to bias.
    • A staggering 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide compared to 1.6% of the general population, with rates rising for those who lost a job due to bias (55%), were harassed/bullied in school (51%), had low household income, or were the victim of physical assault (61%) or sexual assault (64%).

    California has protected transgender employees from workplace and housing discrimination since before 2003. It has done so through the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which prohibits discrimination, harassment, and retaliation based on certain protected categories. However, many Californians remain unaware that transgender employees are protected from workplace discrimination. To help educate workers and employers, the California Legislature made these protections explicit in 2003 and 2011. And, this week, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing issued guidance . . .

  • Two workers over 40

    If you believe that you were not hired/promoted or were terminated/laid off because of your age, can you still have a case if the person given preference is also over 40?

    The short answer is “yes.”

    It does not matter that the person favored is also over 40 if he is “substantially younger.”

    The Supreme Court in O’Connor v. Consolidated Coin Caterers Corp., 517 U.S. 308 (1996), confirmed that age discrimination can occur even if the person favored is also over 40. In O’Connor, a 56-year-old who was fired and replaced by a 40-year-old sued under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”). The district court granted the defendant’s summary judgment motion and the Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the plaintiff failed to make out a prima facie case of age discrimination under because he failed to show that he was replaced by someone under the age of 40. The Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Justice Scalia, held that an employee asserting age discrimination need not demonstrate that his replacement was under 40; rather, he must demonstrate that his replacement was “substantially younger.” O’Connor, 517 U.S. at 312. The Court explained:

  • Final Check

    Whether you are terminated, laid off, or resign voluntarily from your job, your employer must provide you with your final wages in a timely manner. If your employer does not pay your final wages in full and on time, you can seek penalties in addition to the actual wages owed. You may also be able to recover attorney’s fees, costs, and interest if you prevail on an action for unpaid wages. California’s Labor Code lays out an employer’s obligations with respect to the payment of final wages as well as the penalties for failing to comply.

    Payment Upon Termination

    When an employer terminates or lays off an employee, it must “immediately” pay the employee all earned and unpaid wages. (Labor Code § 201.) The employee must be paid “at the place of discharge.” (Labor Code § 208.)

    Payment Upon Resignation

    If an employee quits without notice, the employer must provide final wages within 72 hours of the resignation. However, if the employee gives notice 72 hours or more in advance of the actual resignation, then the employee must be paid . . .

  • terminated employee

    If you work in California and are not a union member, chances are that your employment is “at will.” This means that your employer can terminate your employment at any time, with or without notice, for almost any reason they see fit. The key word here is “almost.” Even if your status is “at will,” an employer cannot discriminate against or terminate you for reasons that the law specifically prohibits.

    Is Your Employment “At Will?”

    In California, the presumption is that your employment is “at will.” This is reflected in Cal. Labor Code Section 2922: “An employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at the will of either party on notice to the other. Employment for a specified term means an employment for a period greater than one month.”

    The default of “at will” status can be altered through a contractual agreement. Most frequently, this happens when unions negotiate collective bargaining agreements on behalf of their members. Collective bargaining agreements usually provide job protections, including by requiring progressive discipline and “just cause” to terminate an employee.

    An individual employee can also enter into an employment contract for . . .