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California’s Gender Neutral Bathroom Bill

While some states have been suing the federal government for the right to discriminate against transgender people when it comes to bathroom access, California is going in the other direction. The same state that led the way on transgender student access to bathrooms in schools just passed a bill requiring all public, single-occupancy bathrooms in the state be gender neutral. The new law would allow anyone to access these bathrooms, regardless of gender identity. So will the Golden State's take on transgender bathroom access be the norm, or remain an outlier? Equal Rights, Equal Access California already has laws prohibiting discrimination against transgender people, including restroom access. That law allows a person to access common bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. The new bill would take the law further, barring single-use restrooms in businesses, government buildings, and public places from being reserved for either gender. (Proponents of the law also point out that gender neutral bathrooms will reduce wait times, since anyone can now use bathrooms that were previously reserved for either more or women.) But the bill hasn't become law quite yet. While the measure passed California's House on a 55-19 margin, it must still get through the State Senate and governor. And no date has been set for either consideration. California in Context Transgender bathroom access has become a hot-button issue in recent years, with some states expanding access and others pushing back. Most infamously, North Carolina recently passed a law prohibiting people from using bathrooms with gender designations different from those on their birth certificates. But the federal government, who has the last word on civil rights issues, has been fighting discrimination against transgender people. The Department of Justice responded swiftly to the North Carolina law, filing a discrimination lawsuit against state officials in an effort to block the law. And the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently advised business to allow bathroom access to employees based on their chosen gender identity. If California's history holds, the gender neutral bathroom bill will soon become law, and we'll all have an easier time going to the bathroom. If you have questions about bathroom access where you live, you can contact an experienced civil rights attorney near you. Related Resources: Find Civil Rights Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) Transgender 1st Grader Wins Restroom Ruling (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Legal Rights and Issues for Transgender Children (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Transgender Bathroom Laws in Public Schools: A National Overview (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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5 Best Cities for Working After Retirement

When you're 30, you can't wait until the day you can retire and spend your days sipping Pina Coladas on a white sand beach. When you finally retire at 65 or 67, suddenly you miss going to work every day. Either you're restless or didn't save up enough for retirement, and now you want to return to work in retirement. Here are the best cities, according to US News, for working after retirement: Best Cities for Working After Retirement Some cities are filled with youngsters and start-ups. Other cities are more senior friendly: Washington D.C. -- More than one-third of the over 60 population in Washington, D.C. Most people find jobs with the federal government and contractors. Salt Lake City, Utah -- If you like education jobs or government positions, Salt Lake City is great place to work after retirement. Over 33 percent of the senior citizen population in Salt Lake City are still employed. Bridgeport, Connecticut -- Bridgeport is a great city for older workers in the health care industry. Omaha, Nebraska -- A little less than 33 percent of seniors work in Omaha. Austin, Texas -- The economy is strong in Austin with big tech companies offering plenty of jobs. A little over 32 percent of seniors continue working after age 60. Obstacles to Working After Retirement As you continue working during your retirement, you may encounter a few obstacles such as age discrimination or reduced social security payments. Age Discrimination Sadly, many senior workers have had to deal with age discrimination in the workplace. However, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits discrimination against employees or potential employees older than 40 years of age. Refusing to hire an applicant or firing an employee solely because of age is age discrimination. Making harassing comments about someone's age can also be age discrimination. If you are being discriminated against because of your age, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Social Security Retirement Benefits If you are able to continue working or get a new job after retirement, just be aware that you may be giving up money to make money. You can still work and collect Social Security retirement benefits. However, if you retired before full retirement age off 65-67, the Social Security Administration may reduce your retirement benefits by about one-third to one-half of your outside earnings. If you are being discriminated against at work because of your age, consult with an experienced employment attorney for help. Related Resources: Browse Employment Lawyers by Location (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) After an Age-Discrimination Claim, What Happens? (FindLaw's Free Enterprise) When Can I Retire? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) 5 Tips for Older 'Encore Entrepreneurs' (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
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Do I Have to Notify My Employer of My Pregnancy?

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Now that the initial excitement and adrenaline has worn off, you probably have a lot of questions. Many mothers like to wait until after the first trimester to tell friends and family about a pregnancy. But, what about your employer? Do you have to notify your employer about your pregnancy, and when? Sharing the Good News As always, the answer to this question is complicated. Legally, you are under no obligation or deadline to tell your employer about your pregnancy. However, you may want to consider doing so as soon as possible. There are many legal protections and benefits for pregnant women at work, and the only way you can take advantage of those benefits is to notify your employer about your pregnancy. Disability and Accommodations Don't be afraid to tell your employer about your pregnancy. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), employers are prohibited from discriminating against you based on your pregnancy. They cannot refuse to hire, fire, change your job assignments or pay, or make promotion or demotion decisions based on your pregnancy. Also, the Americans with Disabilities Acts covers impairments resulting from pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. This means employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for your pregnancy related disability. Family Medical Leave Act In addition to accommodations, you may be entitled to leave during and after your pregnancy. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) requires employers to allow eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave for family or medical reasons each year. Pregnancy is a covered medical reason for FMLA leave. To be eligible to take FMLA leave, you must: Work for an employer with at least 50 employees within 75 miles Worked for the employer for at least 12,50 hours over a 12 month period Notice Normally, you should notify your employer at least 30 days before you want to take FMLA leave. If leave is needed in an emergency and was unforeseeable then you have to notify the employer as soon as possible. While there is no legal requirement on when you must tell your employer of your pregnancy, you should do so as soon as possible if you think you may need accommodations or at least 30 days ahead of time if you intend to take FMLA leave. If an employer discriminates against you because of your pregnancy or denies leave, consult with an experienced employment lawyer for help. Related Resources: Browse Employment Lawyers by Location (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) EEOC's New Pregnancy-Discrimination Guide: What Moms Need to Know (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)/li> UPS Pregnancy Case at the Supreme Court: 5 Things You Should Know (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Do Employers Have to Provide Accommodations for Pregnant Employees? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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Labor Day: 5 Employment Law Changes in 2014

For more than 100 years, Labor Day has been a federal holiday celebrating the role played by the American worker in shaping our nation's prosperity. And though Labor Day remains the first Monday of every September, what have certainly changed over the last 100 years are the laws governing labor. From wage and hour rules to workplace safety regulations, employment law is constantly evolving. To mark this year's Labor Day, here are five noteworthy changes to employment laws so far in 2014: Minimum wage increase for federal contract workers. During his State of the Union speech earlier this year, President Obama announced that he was going to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers. A month later, he signed an executive order to that effect, reports Reuters, raising the federal contract worker minimum wage to $10.10 an hour starting January 1st, 2015. State minimum wage increases. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 11 states and Washington D.C. raised the state minimum wage in 2014. These states include Hawaii, Michigan, Vermont, and Rhode Island. California whistleblower protections. California kicked off 2014 by rolling out changes to state employment laws protecting whistleblowers, reports The Wall Street Journal. Among the new rules are expanded prohibitions from employer retaliation against employees who report suspected illegal activity internally, including rules guarding against employers who take action against an employee in anticipation of that employee reporting illegal activity. Veteran discrimination protection. There were several new laws passed in 2014 prohibiting employers from discriminating against veterans of the armed services. In Indiana, HEA 1242 made it illegal for employers to discriminate against veterans of any armed services branch or current members of the Indiana National Guard. Added protections for pregnant women. Also added to the list of protected classes for purposes of workplace discrimination law: pregnant women. Earlier this year, New Jersey amended its state Law Against Discrimination to include pregnant women and women who have recently given birth, reports Think Progress. The federal Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission also issued new guidelines clarifying federal rules against pregnancy discrimination. If you have a question about labor law or feel your rights have been violated, an employment lawyer can help explain your legal options. And regardless, enjoy your Labor Day! Related Resources: What is Labor Day? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) 5 Things an Employment Lawyer Can Do (That You Probably Can't) (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Legal How-To: Requesting FMLA Leave From Your Employer (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Can Your Boss Make You Work on a Holiday? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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