Women employed in the technology sector face a wide variety of difficulties in the workplace. California employment law has been amended in recent years to deal with the specific challenges facing women in technology. Now, even venture capital relationships are protected under California’s sexual harassment law. These statutes are the start of an important change in technology workplace culture. But it is still important for brave women to speak up and hold tech employers accountable for violations of California employment law.
Here are some of the most common legal issues facing California women who are employed in the tech sector:
Sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited under both federal law (through Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) and state law (through the California Fair Employment and Housing Act). California law expands sexual harassment protections beyond what is prohibited by federal law. For example, state law specifies that sexual desire does not need to be the motivation for the offensive conduct, it may also be based upon the actual or perceived sex or gender identity of the employee, actual or perceived sexual orientation, and/or pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical status of the employee. Sexual harassment violations can be reported to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, including with the assistance of an attorney. Employees who witness these violations can also file a lawsuit against their employers.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 amended the Civil Rights Act to include pregnancy as a protected class. This includes pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. The state has also enacted specific protections that allow for employee leave due to pregnancy and childbirth:
Disabled workers also have rights under state and federal law. This includes the right to request reasonable accommodations under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), and to take medical leave under FMLA and the CFRA, if applicable. It also includes the right to collect Social Security Disability Income and California State Disability Insurance benefits, as applicable.
Change is coming to the technology sector. When employees speak up, the workplaces of California become a safer and more productive place to workplace for everyone. It is important for any employee who thinks her workplace rights have been violated to consult with an employment lawyer. Contact the office of Minnis & Smallets today to schedule a consultation with an experienced San Francisco employment law attorney.
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