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I think I'm being harassed in the workplace. What should I do?

If you experienced inappropriate or unfair treatment in the workplace, you may feel both embarrassed or overwhelmed by your situation. While it may be difficult to do so, you have the right to speak up for yourself and hold the appropriate parties accountable for what you experienced. Workplace harassment is unacceptable, and you do not have to stand for it.

Victims of this type of mistreatment often feel unsure about whether or not what they experienced actually qualifies as harassment. If you feel unsure or you believe that you may be a victim, you may find it beneficial to seek an evaluation of your case. This can help you understand your legal options and what is next for you.

Is your executive position on the line?

Are things becoming uncomfortable at the office? Where you used to shine and thrive, do you now meet awkward glances and stilted conversation? Maybe there is a younger group of executives moving in, and you don't fit with the new brand the company is trying to create. Are you sensing that the ax is about to fall?

Perhaps, after your years of service to the company, raising profits and securing clients, you have felt your position as an executive was secure. Now the atmosphere is changing for whatever reason, and you suspect there are plans in the works to let you go. Is there really anything you can do about it?

Gender should not play a role in your treatment in the workplace

Discrimination of all kinds is illegal in California, including a type of mistreatment related to a person's gender. State laws, federal laws and society in general condemns and prohibits any type of gender-related discrimination, but that does not mean that it does not still happen.

In fact, the mistreatment you are currently experiencing in the workplace could be more than just bad jokes and minor bullying. It could be a type of gender discrimination. If you believe that you are a victim, you would be wise to work closely with a lawyer who can help you understand your rights and determine if you should move forward with a civil claim against your employer.

Are you an exempt or non-exempt employee?

If you suspect that you are not paid fairly, you have the right to seek help and take action to protect yourself and your financial interests. However, you would be wise to first understand if you are an exempt employee or non-exempt employee, and what your status means for your rights per the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

Your status as exempt or non-exempt determines if you should get paid minimum wage and overtime. If you believe that your employer misclassified you, you would be wise to work with a lawyer familiar with your rights as a California employee. Even if you are unsure of your status, you always have the right to know your options.

Pregnancy discrimination is rampant -- even in Beverly Hills

Legislators try very hard to obtain gender equality in the workplace. A new California law that prohibits companies from paying female employees lower salaries than males if they do similar jobs came into force on Jan. 1. However, women on all levels of the employment ladder may be vulnerable to discrimination when they decide to start a family -- even those in high profile jobs in Beverly Hills.

Your job and your weight

Recently, you may have seen reports confirming that working women still earn less than men on the average. However, a recent law school study revealed that your weight could also be the reason your paycheck is smaller. In fact, if you are even slightly overweight, you may be making less than an average-sized woman.

Earning less money may be only one way in which you are treated differently on the job solely because of your appearance. Despite the fact that so many people in California and across the country struggle with obesity, more people - especially women - are reporting discrimination in the workplace because they are overweight.

The real reason you lost your job

Often when those in the media describe a shakeup in a company, they report that the company's CEO has "stepped down." More often than not, this means that the CEO was forced to resign, perhaps to save the company the negative press of a scandal.

When no scandal in a company is obvious, people may assume that the executive lost his or her job because the company saw a financial downturn under that executive's watch. However, enough CEOs have managed to hold on to their jobs through plummeting stock prices and earnings in the red to shed doubt on that theory.

Was I Fired For Being Pregnant?

Pregnancy is a journey. With all of its joys and even hardships, it should never be a source for discrimination when it comes to the workplace. If you believe you were fired because of your pregnancy, you were most likely wrongfully terminated.

Your rights during pregnancy

Often times, we hear about the rights women have when they go on maternity leave after having a baby. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is one such right, allowing eligible employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave and job security. It is important to realize, however, that there are also laws in place that protect a mother during her pregnancy.

Why is sexual harassment still a problem at work?

Sexual harassment, which can be defined as anything from unwanted touching to lewd comments that cause discomfort, has been discouraged in workplaces for decades.

In an era when men and women work together for long hours, some boundaries have to be set. Sexual harassment is not only an attack on an employee's dignity, but it distracts from the purpose of being at work, which is to do one's job.

The problem is that in some organizations, sexual harassment policies are more honored in the breach than the observance.

Age discrimination: A real problem for baby boomers

In the 1960s, a popular slogan of young people was "Don't trust anyone over 30." Unfortunately, many of the same people who uttered these words back in the day are seeing this attitude being used against them in the form of age discrimination in the workplace.

Getting older has long been a joke to many, but a lot of baby boomers are finding themselves too busy fighting back to laugh. Many baby boomers have seen their retirement accounts take a hit with the relatively recent economic fallout, and with longer expected life spans, they realize that they need to stay in the workplace longer. The workplace isn't making it easier.


Sherman Law Group
9454 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 850
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

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