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California Employment Discrimination Blog

University of California sexual harassment conduct is widespread

There has been a growing concern lately regarding both the surprising frequency and the subsequent handling of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and sexual assault cases at university campuses across the state. This wider focus on allegations of sexual misconduct and the disciplinary measures taken by university administrators throughout the 10 campus system in California was sparked following a series of high profile cases of sexual harassment which came to light at UC Berkeley in 2015. 

It was these incidents which prompted the Bay Area News Group and other related media to submit a public records request for documents relating to those and any other sexual harassment claims throughout the larger university system, covering a three year range, from January 2013 to April 2016. These records, which consist of hundreds of pages of documents, were released to the Associated Press and additional news outlet in March 2017. 

Understanding California’s wrongful termination laws

Compared to many other states, the wrongful termination laws in California are much less strict. This means that employers in California have more freedom to fire their employees without legal consequence.

Employment in the state of California is what is known as "at-will", meaning that an employee is free to quit at any time for almost any reason and an employer is free to fire an employee any time for almost any reason. These reasons even include such things as nepotism, favoritism, and other such justifications that would generally be considered unfair. With that said, there are still some instances in California that do qualify as wrongful termination.

EEOC says Estee Lauder's parental leave policy is discriminatory

The cosmetics company Estee Lauder provides biological mothers, adoptive mothers and primary caregivers a generous benefits package. It includes six weeks of paid leave with a back-to-work rule that provides additional flexibility for up to four weeks. The six weeks of paid leave are in addition to paid leave mothers are given to recover from childbirth -- they are meant for child bonding.

Unfortunately, the company doesn't offer that benefit package to everyone. Biological fathers are considered only "secondary caregivers" under the policy. They receive only two weeks of paid leave, which must be taken within the first six months of the child's arrival, and they get no back-to-work transition flexibility. Other fathers appear to receive inferior benefits, as well.

Ford to settle harassment, retaliation claims for $10 million

Ford Motor Company has agreed to settle EEOC harassment and retaliation claims for $10.125 million. It has also agreed to a plan for training and monitoring overseen by the federal agency.

The allegations involve both sexual and racial harassment complaints at two Chicago-area Ford plants. A class of female and African-American employees complained of the discrimination, and the EEOC determined it was likely some were retaliated against when they complained about it. Both harassment and retaliation of this type violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The University of California's million dollar error in judgment

In a case that was followed with interest by those in the field of employment law, as well as many employees working in large university systems throughout the country who hold non-academic positions, the University of California (UC) reached a settlement this past May with the U.S. Department of Labor to the tune of $1.3 million for back wages and damages owed to underpaid employees. 

Payroll errors to blame for unpaid wages

Court upholds the statutory rights of FMLA

Angela McKinley was hired in 2014 as a Production Control Supervisor at one of Rapid Global's client sites, working for FCA. At the time of her hiring, McKinley signed an Employment Agreement which specifically included a statement regarding the amount of time after which any claim or lawsuit that an employee might bring against the company or its subsidiaries -- no more than six months after the date of the action or incident that would be the subject of any claim or lawsuit filed. By signing this employment agreement, an employee waives any alternate statute of limitations that might apply to the filing of any future lawsuit.

Whistleblower cases can result in high money awards

In 2012, a former cardiac surgery physician's assistant at Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento named Ani Chopourian was awarded an incredible sum of $168 million in her harassment suit against the hospital. At the time, this was believed to be the most substantial amount of damages ever awarded to a single plaintiff in a case of workplace harassment in the United States. This case of whistleblower harassment helped set a legal precedent for others who had been harassed after reporting unethical or illegal conduct at their own workplace, showing them that there are legal avenues through which they can seek compensation for their mistreatment.

West Hollywood City Council's Whistleblower Soap Opera

The sordid story of sexual harassment, wiretapping, whistleblowing and retaliation in the West Hollywood City Council that came to be known as "Deputygate" might be one for the books. If you had trouble following the snarled threads of this case, you aren't alone. The case of former council deputy Michelle Rex, who sued the city for wrongful termination following what she felt was a retaliatory firing for her role in reporting the sexual harassment of fellow council deputy, Ian Owens, came to a close on May 19th. However, the culmination of the case will mean little without detailing the twists and turns that led to it.

California AB 569: Bill Would Ensure Reproductive Health Protections for California Workers

california-ab-569-ensure-reproductive-health-protections-california-workers.pngCalifornia Assembly Bill 569 (AB 569) recently cleared the Assembly on a 54-17 vote and will soon move to the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. AB 569, the Reproductive Health Nondiscrimination Act, would protect California workers from workplace discrimination based on personal reproductive health choices.

Can You Sue for Verbal Abuse at Work in California?

can-you-sue-for-verbal-abuse-at-work-california.pngDid you know that 42 percent of workers in the United States have reported being victims of verbal abuse at work? If you are one of these employees who has suffered from verbal abuse, you may be able to file a workplace harassment complaint. But how do you know when you can sue your employer for verbal abuse? This article will help you understand how California law protects workers from verbal abuse in the workplace.

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