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Servers often deal with sexual harassment to save tips

Servers who have to rely on tips to make a living wage are often subjected to behavior from customers that would make some people blush. Lewd comments, sexual innuendos and other unwanted advances plague the servers in the restaurant industry. While those facts might make some people scream that servers should just stand up to rowdy and unruly restaurant patrons, it often isn't that simple. Our readers in California might find this complex issue rather interesting.

The Restaurant Opportunities Center has released a report that took surveys completed by 688 workers from the restaurant industry into account. It found that workers who rely on tips for a living are dealing with unwanted sexual advances at a higher rate than those who are in non-tipped positions. That rate of sexual harassment is increased in states that have a lower tipped minimum wage.

Reporting or suing for sexual harassment in the workplace

For California workers who have had to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace, deciding how to proceed with complaints about the harassment can be difficult. Most of our readers know that you have the right to take a stand against sexual harassment. There are two ways that employees can do this: reporting harassment to the company or filing a lawsuit. There are marked differences between these two that are important.

In most cases, reporting the sexual harassment to the company is the first thing you should do. Many companies will immediately investigate the claims and take appropriate action to remedy the situation. There is a chance, however, that the company won't do anything. That might mean you need to move to the next step -- filing a lawsuit.

What is quid pro quo sexual harassment?

People who have read our blog for a while have likely seen the term quid pro quo sexual harassment mentioned. Some of our California readers might have some questions about quid pro quo harassment. While these basic questions and answers don't cover everything about quid pro quo, they should answer some questions that might come up.

What is quid pro quo harassment?

California wrongful termination claims: Know your rights

In last week's blog post, we covered hostile work environments. There are some instances in which that hostile work environment might lead to wrongful termination. We touched on that point a few weeks back when we covered the case pertaining to the Dominos' Pizza worker who complained of sexual harassment. Those issues might have you wondering how you should handle an instance of wrongful termination in California.

Not every fired employee is the victim of wrongful termination. Employees who don't have contracts are considered "at will" employees who can be fired for any reason as long as the reason isn't illegal. If you have an employment contract, even a verbal one, you likely have specific clauses that cover your termination. If that is the case, scrutinizing your contract might help you to determine if you have a wrongful termination claim.

Hostile work environments aren't acceptable in California

Last week, we discussed the recent ruling that found Domino's Pizza wasn't liable for the sexual harassment that occurred at a franchised location. As we discussed, the worker was subjected to a hostile work environment at the hands of her manager. This might have some people wondering exactly what they can do if they are being subjected to a hostile work environment.

For people who are the victims of sexual harassment in the workplace, making complaints and filing lawsuits are possible. It is vital that those who are experiencing these types of situations learn their rights and responsibilities under California laws to determine if the situation is being handled appropriately.

California court finds Domino's not liable for sexual harassment

Employees count on employers to keep the workplace free from harassment of all types. In the case of businesses that are part of a franchise, determining who is at fault when harassment occurs is something that can be complex. In a recent case, the California Supreme Court has drawn a line that let those involved in the case know exactly whom to hold responsible for the sexual harassment that allegedly occurred there.

The case has to do with the manager of a Domino's Pizza location sexually harassing a young employee. The sexual harassment claims have to do with a location that is a franchised location instead of a store that is controlled by Domino's Pizza LLC. In response to the allegation, a Domino's area leader instructed the owner of the location to fire the man who was being accused of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Protections for whistleblowers in California

In the state of California, the government wants people to become whistleblowers if they see something that is out of line with the law. For example, the employees may work for companies that are breaking the law in some of their practices, or an employer may come directly to these employees and ask them to do something that they know is not legal.

In order to encourage whistleblowers to act without fear if they know that something is wrong, the state has set laws and regulations in place to protect them. This goes for all employees who work in either the public sector or the private sector. On top of that, these protections are extended to people who are employed by their county, their city or by the state itself.

What is wrongful termination in California?

Some people think that if you get fired from a job in California, 0you don't have any recourse possible against the employer. While that is true in some cases because of the at-will relationship between employers and employees, there are some instances in which being fired would fall under the legal umbrella of wrongful termination. Knowing some basic facts about wrongful termination might help you to determine if your being relieved of your position was legal or illegal.

Can I be fired for making a complaint about discrimination?

Retaliation isn't always clear cut in California

Going to work is something that you should do without the fear of being harassed by coworkers or supervisors in any manner; however, for some employees, that isn't how things go. Sadly, some supervisors and coworkers might opt to harass you because of a variety of reasons. That harassment, however, isn't legal. You do have the right in California to take action against employers who take action against you because of reporting harassment.

Some employers choose to retaliate against employees who report harassment in the workplace. In some cases, the retaliation might be for other reasons, such as reporting illegal or unethical activities in the workplace. When that type of retaliation occurs, you might end up losing your job, being demoted or given a pay cut. None of those actions are legal when they are done in a retaliatory manner.

New bill addresses harassment in California's farming industry

There have been issues for a time now with sexual harassment in California, specifically in the industry of farming. A new bill has been created to address the problem, and it is close to being signed into law. The bill is known as SB 1087.

The bill would work in conjunction with the Farm Labor Contractor Act, serving as an amendment to that act. Under it, contractors and employees in the farming industry would need to go through special training aimed at preventing sexual harassment.

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