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Sexual harassment may only be part of the problem

Both federal and state laws exist in order to protect the rights of employees, helping to ensure that workers are not bullied by their supervisors who feel that they can get away with anything. This is especially true in California, where many state laws exist to provide workers with protection against things like discrimination and harassment. While some people may look at specific issues on a case-by-case basis, the truth is that one issue is not always the only concern for employees.

A former legislative staffer recently received more than $100,000 in a settlement alleging sexual harassment. In addition to the sexual harassment, the woman claims that she received no wages for work that she was forced to complete by a former state Assemblyman. The woman alleges that she worked as the man's paralegal during his 2012 campaign, and after he was elected, she was expected to continue performing this work for free. All of this was on top of alleged phone calls in which the man asked about the woman's sex life and made many inappropriate comments.

Some people may see this as an extreme case of sexual harassment, but it also illustrates the extent to which employee abuse can go. In many cases, employees are not simply sexually harassed for the sake of sexual harassment; the harassment is indicative of a deeper issue wherein executives do not respect their employees. This lack of respect can manifest itself in many other ways, including lack of payment or discrimination.

If you work in California, you should know that you have many rights thanks to various California laws as well as federal laws, and you do not have to suffer unlawful treatment by your employers. Whether you are being sexually harassed, discriminated against, forced to work without pay or all of the above, you can take advantage of your rights. Consider meeting with an attorney to learn more about how you can exercise your rights as a worker.

Source: San Francisco Gate, "California Assembly settles unpaid work lawsuit for $110,000," Aug. 7, 2015

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