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Pasadena Employment Law Blog

Protests reduced sexual harassment, but caused other problems

Californians and people across the U.S. who spoke out against sexual harassment in the workplace and took part in the social media #MeToo movement were found to have been successful in reducing the number of incidents in which harassment took place. However, simultaneous to the reduction in sexual harassment came a rise in gender harassment.

A survey showed that sexual harassment reduced substantially from 2016 to 2018. This coincided with the #MeToo movement. There were 500 women who took part in the survey. 87% stated they were sexually harassed at some point in their working life. However, in that two-year period, there was a reduction in incidents. Researchers suggest that the lowering of these incidents could be due to wariness in behaving inappropriately for fear of being sanctioned for it. People are also showing a greater willingness to speak about against harassment.

New addition to employment law protects worker hairstyle

California employees who are concerned about discrimination frequently think about the basics like age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, pregnancy, disability and other commonly referenced issues. However, there are other aspects of discrimination that could result in allegations of employment law violations. If the employee is confronted with problems at work, loses a job or is not hired in the first place because of it, it could be the foundation for a legal filing. A new law was recently enacted to protect workers who had previously faced discrimination because of their hair.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law that prevents discrimination against black people who wear their hair naturally. Those whose hair is naturally curly or "kinky" dealt with discrimination because of it. Studies have indicated that eight in 10 black women changed their hairstyle to be more acceptable based on societal norms. One woman had been in a legal fight for a decade because she had a job offer rescinded when she did not want to cut her hair. The dreadlocks she wore were in no way connected to doing her job at a call center. She lost her case, but it did set the stage for the new California law.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act and your rights

Getting older is a part of life, but it doesn't necessarily have an impact on your ability to do your job. Despite the fact that you may be more advanced in age, you are still capable, knowledgeable and perfectly able to keep up with its demands. However, others may not feel the same, and you may experience age discrimination in your California workplace.

Age discrimination is a real threat to your career, and you do not have to suffer in silence. You may have the right to speak out against this type of discriminatory treatment and seek to hold liable parties accountable. There are state and federal laws, particularly the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, that protect your rights as an older employee. 

Was I a victim of disability discrimination?

In California, people with disabilities have the same rights to work as anyone else. Many employers might be reluctant to hire someone who is disabled. Of course, there are certain jobs for which a disabled person is unsuitable due to its requirements. If they can do the job in every way, however, they cannot be denied employment or dismissed from a job strictly because of their disability. If it happens, it is disability discrimination. People who believe they have been discriminated against because of a disability should remember that they have rights and understand the law.

There are state guidelines for people who are disabled and seek work or are already employed. If an employer treats a qualified person in an unfavorable manner due to the disability, it is disability discrimination. It is also illegal to treat a worker or a person applying for a job less favorably due to them having had a disability in the past or because of a belief that the person might be disabled. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees unless it is deemed an undue hardship on the employer.

Pregnancy discrimination case against famous chef moves forward

When a woman gets pregnant in California, she has the right to expect that it will not have a negative impact on her career. That includes getting a job, retaining a job and advancing in a job. Unfortunately, there are still employers who will discourage women from getting pregnant and commit pregnancy discrimination if they do. These cases can involve any kind of workplace, even those that are prominent and well-known. Regardless of a person's job and situation, it is important to understand that pregnancy discrimination is illegal and they have the right to seek compensation in a legal filing if they are subjected to it.

A woman who worked for a restaurant owned by famous chef and restauranteur Thomas Keller has filed a lawsuit claiming she was victimized by pregnancy discrimination. Mr. Keller has restaurants in New York and California. The 28-year-old said that she had been hired in the New York restaurant in 2011. Gradually, she rose in the ranks from server to head waiter. She earned in the six figures. She subsequently visited the California restaurant and informed the general manager that she was thinking about moving there. He responded enthusiastically to the prospect of her working at the West Coast location.

Sexual harassment allegations made against Los Angeles Dodgers

For people in Southern California dealing with sexual harassment, coming forward can be one of the most difficult things to do. This is especially true when the employee is fearful of the consequences on their employment. However, that should not dissuade a person from seeking justice for wrongs that have been perpetrated.

A woman who works as an usher for the Los Angeles Dodgers has alleged that her employer retaliated against her because she complained about being sexually harassed. The woman filed a lawsuit against the team and her boss, among others. She says she was retaliated against, was sexually harassed, faced a hostile work environment, was discriminated against, was subjected to sexual battery and that her employer did not protect her.

Law mandates work accommodations for disabled people

People who happen to have disabilities want what we all want: to be happy, find success and to prosper. Often those goals include pursuing a career. Depending on the type of disability a person has, working outside the home can be difficult. It can be even more difficult if a person’s employer doesn’t have the facilities available to let a disabled person thrive in the workplace.

Both federal and California state law require that employers make the necessary accommodations to allow disabled people to be successful at their jobs.

Lawsuits claim Amazon committed pregnancy discrimination

When a company becomes as big as Amazon, it will have warehouses and other business outposts around the world. For workers in California and across the nation, it is beneficial to have a company so large and successful offering employment to people who need a job. However, just because a company is prominent does not mean they adhere to the law. In fact, it is often the opposite. For those who believe they have been mistreated, it is important to understand that they have rights and should take the necessary steps to file a lawsuit if they are confronted with employment violations.

There have been seven lawsuits against Amazon in the past four years saying the company committed wrongful termination of pregnant employees. In an investigation, only one of the complainants agreed to discuss her case. The woman worked in California and her case was filed early in 2019. According to her, she needed more restroom breaks than the company wanted to provide. Working at a company fulfillment center, there are certain constraints for workers to use the restroom as it requires employees to be "off task." That means workers are not performing their jobs when they are on break.

Has my employer committed pregnancy discrimination?

Californians who believe discrimination against pregnant employees is something from the past are often given a rude awakening when they face pregnancy discrimination themselves. A common factor preventing a worker from filing a claim when confronted with pregnancy discrimination is that she may not know when she has been discriminated against. Having a basic understanding of the obligations an employer has under the law is key to knowing when legal action is justified. When there pregnancy discrimination has occurred, it is wise to have legal advice to ensure that a claim is filed at the correct time and supported by the best evidence available.

When an employee is pregnant, the employer must give reasonable accommodations that are linked to the employee's pregnancy, having given birth, or conditions related to the pregnancy. That includes a modification of an employee's duties, giving her the option to sit, and providing breaks more frequently. The worker can be shifted to a job that is less stressful or does not have the same hazards if there is one available, or she can be given different duties if it is medically necessary.

Does your severance agreement protect your best interests?

In the immediate aftermath of losing your job, a human resources professional at your company may present you with the option of signing a severance agreement. Reeling with the news of becoming unemployed, you may be unsure whether the severance agreement protects your best interests.

A severance agreement should ultimately benefit both parties: the employee and the employer. The employee gains severance pay in an otherwise uncertain time while the employer gains the promise of the employee not filing a lawsuit against the company and more. However, severance agreements often fail to perfectly balance the needs of both parties, instead favoring the employer.

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