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Have you ever been in a situation at work where you felt like you were unfairly treated due to factors outside of your control? Most notably, comments or actions because of your race, age, skin color, gender, disability or national origin. If this happened to you, then you may have been a victim of employment discrimination.

Employment discrimination can be tricky to pinpoint. If you were late to work one day and was verbally accosted for this action, but others have done it without these consequences, then your co-worker may be discriminating against you. Sometimes discrimination is not easy to detect. Familiarize yourself with some common signs of discrimination so you are ready to protect your rights.

The signs of discrimination

As an employee, you are protected from discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Though you are protected, are you aware of everything you are protected from? Here are the signs of discrimination you may encounter at work that could indicate that you could be a victim of discrimination.

  1. Inappropriate jokes – Most people want their workplace to be a fun and easy-going place where they get along with their co-workers. This means people will tell jokes to lighten the mood. However, some people may tell jokes based on gender, age or race that they think are funny, but are hurtful. If you see a pattern of the same type of jokes being told, it may be a warning sign of discrimination.
  2. Lack of diversity in the company – If you notice that the same type of people are constantly being hired and certain groups or genders of people are being passed over, there may be a culture of discrimination.
  3. Positions or roles stay the same – When you see a certain type of person consistently being hired to do a job within the company, it may mean that your employer does not believe others can adequately complete the work. This can easily transfer to other parts of the company where there can be a feeling that only a certain gender or race can perform a particular job.
  4. Overlooked for a promotion – If you have been working at the company for some time and have seen several other employees move up the chain faster than you, this could be a sign of discrimination. This type of discrimination can significantly impact your financial well-being if you miss out of salary increases and career opportunities.
  5. Poor review – Did you receive a poor review when you believed you were going to receive excellent marks on your performance? Discrimination can come in the form of people taking other factors into account other than the quality of your work.
  6. Suspect interview questions – You may be able to pinpoint discrimination before you are even hired. If you receive questions about starting a family or when you want to retire, this can be a pre-cursor to an environment of discrimination. It is illegal to ask these questions and can show that other factors besides your ability to do the job are carefully watched by the employer.

If you believe that situations on the job have left you as a victim of discrimination, you should contact an employment law attorney as soon as possible. By getting an expert opinion, you can discuss the details of what you experienced and decide if legal action is warranted.

You work hard. You stay until you finish the job, not when the clock tells you to go. Your supervisor appreciates your hard work and tells you that you’re a team player. So why aren’t those extra hours showing up on your paycheck?

California law requires anyone paid by the hour (nonexempt) to be paid overtime for any work over eight hours in one day, or 40 hours in one week.

The right to overtime

If you have worked more than eight hours in a day, your employer must pay the extra time at one and one-half your regular wage. If you work more than 12 hours in a day, it bumps up to double your regular wage.

Several exemptions and exceptions do exist, however, including:

  1. Executive, Administrative and Professional employees. These employees are exempt from certain sections of the law. They include computer software employees.
  2. Government employees. This can include the state or any of its subdivisions, such as county or city workers.
  3. Drivers. Professional drivers are subject to their own set of regulations, including the number of hours they can drive in a day.
  4. Workers covered by a collective bargaining agreement. If the agreement covers wages and hours of work, then that agreement will apply.
  5. Alternative workweek schedule. Certain industries have adopted a regular schedule requiring employees to work more than eight hours a day. For example, many healthcare shifts are 12 hours.

These examples represent some of the broader categories of exceptions. The exceptions include many other specialized employees.

What are your rights?

If you don’t fall under one of the exemptions or exceptions, then the law protects your right to overtime pay. You may still have questions, however, such as:

  • Do they have to pay for unauthorized overtime? Yes, although you should be aware that you may be subject to discipline if your employer has a policy against overtime and you decide to work the time, anyway.
  • Does your regular rate of pay include bonuses? It does if you get the bonus as part of your regular work, rather at the discretion of your employer.
  • What about holidays and sick days? Overtime is only calculated on time you actually work, so if you were out for a holiday, even if it is a paid holiday, that day is not calculated toward overtime.
  • Can your employer require you to work overtime? Yes, they can, and they can discipline you if you refuse to work the schedule they give you. They cannot, however, require you to work more than six days in a row. They must give you the seventh day off.

Where does this leave you? If you feel that your employer has violated your overtime rights, you can file a wage claim against your employer with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

A commissioner there will review and decide your claim. Your employer cannot legally retaliate against you for filing the claim. You are entitled to the money you earned. If your employer is not paying what they owe, you have options.

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