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California Employment Lawyer > California Employment Law > California Civil Rights Lawyer

California Civil Rights Lawyer

In addition to the right to be free of discrimination based on race, sex, religion, and color when applying for jobs or housing, employees also have rights to privacy in the workplace and the right to reasonable accommodations. When these rights are violated, employers can be held liable. If you live in California and have had your rights violated at work, please contact an experienced California civil rights lawyer today.

Right to Privacy

The California Constitution guarantees residents the right to privacy. This right applies to public entities, private corporations, and individuals alike. Although courts have acknowledged that employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy while at work, that expectation is not without limitations. For this reason, employers are permitted to do background checks prior to hiring someone and are allowed to monitor an employee’s use of a company computer, phone, or email.

Employers are also permitted to use video surveillance to monitor employees in the workplace. However, the surveillance must take place in open and accessible spaces that are within the sight and hearing of other coworkers or the general public. Employers are banned outright from using surveillance in the following locations:

  • Locker rooms;
  • Fitting rooms;
  • Bathrooms; and
  • Showers.

The Supreme Court of California has also confirmed that although employees do have a right to privacy in the workplace, employers are still permitted to monitor employees who are in enclosed areas, such as a private office, if the surveillance is limited in scope and intrusiveness and is prompted by legitimate business reasons.

Right to Work

Many states have enacted right to work laws, which prohibit employers and unions from denying jobs to those who are not members. However, California has yet to pass such a law. Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), companies can’t require an employee to become a full union member as a condition of employment. They can, however, require employees to pay a portion of union dues.

Right to Accommodation

The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), requires employers to make reasonable accommodations at the request of disabled employees. Reasonable accommodation includes making modifications:

  • To an application process so as to enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for employment;
  • To an employee’s work environment that will enable a qualified, but disabled individual to perform the essential functions of the position; and
  • That allow a disabled employee to enjoy equal benefits as other employees.

Such reasonable accommodations could include:

  • Making existing facilities accessible to disabled employees by installing wheelchair ramps;
  • Restructuring jobs and modifying working schedules; and
  • Acquiring special equipment or modifying existing devices.

Unless an accommodation would be an undue hardship to an employer, due to the cost or difficulty of the modifications, he or she can be held legally responsible for failing to accommodate a reasonable request.

Contact a Dedicated California Civil Rights Lawyer Today

If you live in California and have had your civil rights violated at work, please contact an experienced California civil rights lawyer at Scott • Wagner and Associates

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* Cathleen Scott is licensed to practice in Florida only.

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