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5 possible reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, there were nearly 3.8 million births in the United States in 2018. That means there were roughly 10,400 babies born every single day. Accordingly, whether you are a business owner, company executive or manager, there is a good chance that you will eventually have a pregnant employee on your team. 

Both federal and California state law prohibit many employers from discriminating against workers because they are pregnant or new mothers. To comply with applicable laws, you must make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees. While there is no precise definition of what constitutes a reasonable accommodation, here are five possible options: 

Why is sexual harassment so common in restaurants?

As someone who makes a living working in a California restaurant, you may understand all too well just how common sexual harassment is within your particular line of work. If you work in a restaurant and are also female, African American or Latina, your chances of experiencing on-the-job sexual harassment in a restaurant setting are even higher.

According to USA Today, 40% of women working in restaurant settings report unwanted sexual attention or advancements on the job. Additionally, more than 14% of all sexual harassment claims reported across the nation come from the food service and hospitality sectors, highlighting just how much of a problem this form of harassment is industry-wide. Just what is it about working in restaurants that makes you more likely to be a victim of sexual harassment?

Can employers force workers to stay on site for meal breaks?

In California, employees must receive one lunch break of at least 30 minutes if they work a minimum of five hours at a time. Most businesses do not care if employees stay on-site or go out to eat as long as they come back within the requested amount of time. However, what should employees do if a boss requires them to stay on the premises no matter what during a meal break? 

This issue was the subject of a 2018 lawsuit titled Rodriguez v. Taco Bell Corp. In this case, employees alleged that Taco Bell did not allow them to leave the premises for meals. Instead, the company offered discounted food on the condition they stayed at the restaurant. Ultimately, the courts sided with Taco Bell. The reason was that the company did not forbid employees from leaving. The restaurant merely stated that if employees bought the discounted food, they had to stay in the restaurant to eat it. They could have gone out to eat elsewhere if they wanted. The purpose of this rule was to prevent the theft of discounted food, which employees theoretically could have given to other people. However, this does not mean employers can enforce rules on meal breaks in general.

Does reasonable accommodation include service animals?

People get hurt, physically and emotionally. Sometimes, these injuries are severe enough to qualify as a disability by medical and legal standards.

When you return to work after suffering an injury, you may need some adjustment in your duties. Perhaps you cannot live the same way without assistance. For psychological injuries and disabilities, service animals are becoming an acceptable form of ongoing treatment. Does your employer have to allow you to bring a service animal to work, or could you lose your job?

Employment contracts serve employer and employee fairly

Perhaps you are launching a new business, or perhaps your company is expanding, and you need more staff. You want to offer an employment contract that provides the appropriate work-related details for the employee and, at the same time, protects both you and your company from potential legal issues.

The employment contract should serve both parties fairly, and the language used is very important. The wording must be simple and clear so that the prospective employee has no trouble understanding what is meant in any of the sections. Here are five elements to include.

Common blunders that may lead to employee claims

As a business owner, you like to run a tight ship. However, you also understand that you still have a lot to learn as far as dealing with employee relations and all the rules and regulations that govern your business.

You worked hard to get this far, and you do not want to watch it all go up in smoke over employee relation problems. It is a good idea to step back and evaluate the practices and procedures you have in place that you may need to revisit. Steer clear of some of the most common missteps small business owners make that lead to employment law troubles.

California laws on the distribution of tips

For many employees in California, tipping is how they make most of their money. Tipping has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years, so much so that some restaurants have done away with it entirely. One Los Angeles restaurant did precisely this by simply increasing the price of food. 

For now, tipping is still the common way restaurants operate. It is vital for employees to receive all the tips they have earned over the course of a shift, so workers and employers alike should understand how this payment should work. Any violation of California law should come to the attention of the employer immediately. In some cases, litigation may be necessary.

When does a bad job become a hostile work environment?

Like most of your neighbors in Newport Beach, you spend a significant amount of time at work. While most jobs have both positive and negative aspects, you do not want to be miserable. Unfortunately, though, according to a recent study, as many as 20% of U.S. employees work in a hostile environment. 

As you may suspect, not every uncomfortable situation in the workplace constitutes a hostile work environment. On the contrary, for working conditions to turn into a hostile work environment, they must meet specific legal requirements. Here are some questions you should consider in deciding whether your job site is a hostile work environment.

Can your employer ask about your citizenship status?

Looking for a new job can be stressful. After all, if you have to go without employment for even a couple of weeks, you may not be able to pay your bills. Still, when interviewing for a new position, you should be able to trust a potential employer to follow the law. Demanding proof of your citizenship status may be going too far. 

The Immigration and Nationality Act requires employers to verify the identity and work eligibility of all new hires. To do this, employers must review documentation and complete Form I-9. Some employers may also confirm work authorization through the federal government’s E-Verify program. Employers in the United States may not, however, use the employment-eligibility verification process to discriminate against applicants or existing employees

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