In a federal appeal involving a class action lawsuit alleging discriminatory medical inquiries and exams as a condition of hiring, the California attorney general has filed an amicus brief decrying these practices and outlining the state’s robust anti-discrimination laws. The AG also noted the possible repercussions – particularly for those with disabilities – if a lower court’s ruling is allowed to apply to all Californians.disability discrimination lawyer Orange County

The lawsuit, pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, alleges that a health care company – one of the biggest providers of occupational health services in the country – unlawfully required applicants to to answer “highly intrusive, non-job-related and discriminatory” questions about their health. These reportedly have included information on prospective applicants’ hair loss, menstrual issues, sexually-transmitted diseases, mental illness, HIV, hemorrhoids and disability status.

Such inquiries, state Attorney General Rob Bonta asserts, run contrary to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and underscore how potentially harmful pre-employment screenings can be.

The lawsuit, Raines v. U.S. Healthworks Medical Group, centers around an employer’s contract with a corporate third-party agent responsible for pre-employment screening. Plaintiffs allege that when they refused to answer certain questions, such as one relating to menstruation, offers of employment were revoked. Continue Reading ›

Racial discrimination at California workplaces can be grounds for employment litigation. Recently, according to The Los Angeles Times, numerous current and former workers for the City of Long Beach alleged they have been victimized for years by systemic racial prejudice at work.racial discrimination lawyer

Among the allegations set forth in the class action lawsuit against the city:

  • Black workers were reportedly kept disproportionately in lower-paying and unclassified positions.
  • Black workers not given equal pay or equal opportunity for promotion.
  • One worker told she was part of her department’s “problem children.”
  • One worker’s raise was revoked because of a purported mistake in salary calculations.
  • An “anti-black culture” within numerous city departments.

They allege that these actions individually and collectively contributed to a hostile work environment and held them back in their careers. One of those involved said Black workers for the city had been meeting privately for years, discussing their difficulties and trying to find a way forward.

A 2018 report commissioned by the city revealed 65 percent of Black workers in the city were paid less than $60,000 a year, compared with about one-third of the city’s White workers in the same pay range. While 9 percent of Black applicants who sought work in the city were hired, 33 percent of White applicants were hired.

The class action litigation currently names five plaintiffs, but employment attorneys in the case say as many as 1,000 could ultimately claim damages. Continue Reading ›

California sexual harassment claims against Oscar-nominated actor James Franco by former film students were recently settled for $2.2 million. The students allege that they were sexually harassed and coaxed into performing increasingly explicit on-camera sex scenes. They further alleged that as students at his film school, they were victims of fraud. Plaintiffs include one of five women who went on the record with the Los Angeles Times in 2018 to detail allegations of on-set behavior that was sexually exploitative or at least inappropriate.sexual harassment lawyer

Franco, 43, has denied the allegations repeatedly. But allegations of his inappropriate and possibly predatory behavior with young women were swirling even before the #MeToo movement gained traction. For example, in a 2014 Instagram exchange, he pursued a 17-year-old girl from Britain he’d met outside a theater, asking her about details of the hotel room where she was staying – even after he found out how old she was. When those messages later when public, he released a statement saying he was “embarrassed” and calling social media “tricky.”

In the most recent lawsuits, plaintiffs allege Franco set up his educational institute as a means to pursue young women and sexually exploit them. Those who cooperated with him were reportedly led to believe that doing so would land them roles in his movies. Plaintiffs allege the defendant coerced them during a “master class on sex scenes” into participating in sexual activity that was gratuitous while denying them protections actors and actresses would typically have as professionals with nudity riders. (Such riders protect film professionals from coercion and exploitation.) Continue Reading ›

Age discrimination is an ongoing problem in workplaces throughout California and the U.S. Recognizing this, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill aimed at protecting older Americans, potentially making it easier to file suit for violations. age discrimination

The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act was introduced earlier this year as part of a bipartisan effort. The goal is to restore workplace protections for 40-and-older workers that were undercut in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc., a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. That ruling made it tougher to prove age discrimination.

In that case, the high court held that plaintiffs alleging disparate treatment under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 must prove that one’s older age was the “but-for” cause of the adverse employment action. In other words, as our Los Angeles age discrimination lawyers can explain, the burden doesn’t shift to the employer to prove the action would have been taken regardless of age – even if the worker produces evidence that age was one motivating factor. The court held that ADEA doesn’t authorize a so-called “mixed-motives age discrimination claim.” Rather, it states that claims may be brought when an employer took some adverse action “because of age” and that age was the “reason” the employer decided to act. Continue Reading ›

The City of Huntington Beach has paid $2.5 million total to settle claims of disability and age discrimination allegedly perpetrated in part by the city attorney. The payout comes after the city paid $1.5 million fighting the claims. Los Angeles age discrimination lawyer

According to The Orange County Register, two former employees allege the city’s former and current senior deputy city attorneys made numerous efforts to force them and other older workers out of their employment roles.

The case had been pending for two years, and council members, who had to approve the legal fees, insist the case has always been without merit, which is why they pushed the outside lawyers to prepare for trial rather than try to settle. Ultimately, though, they chose to settle with one claimant for $1 million and another for $1.5 million. Continue Reading ›

A decision on a California sexual harassment statute of limitations case is expected to be released sometime in the next few months, after the state supreme court heard oral arguments last month. The case involves a Los Angeles California trucking and distribution center, which was successful in winning a summary judgment against two former employees alleging sexual harassment on the basis the statute of limitations for the claim had expired. The plaintiffs are asking the California Supreme Court to reverse.Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer

According to court records, the complaint was filed in the fall of 2017, both plaintiffs alleging the trucking company denied them promotions due to racial discrimination and further that they’d both been victims of sexual harassment.

One of the plaintiffs had been hired at the firm by a staffing agency in the late 1990s. She alleged she was dating an executive VP of the firm, starting in 2014, and this turned into a quid pro quo sexual harassment case. When the VP wanted to advance the relationship, she ended it. After that, she said her her promotions at the firm were blocked, though she continued to work at the staffing agency through 2018. (It should be noted the trucking company was the staffing agency’s only client, so the staffing agency was ultimately dismissed as a defendant after the court found that the trucking company was the one with sole decision-making authority over the staffing agency’s employees.) Continue Reading ›

Wage theft is a problem among all income tiers, but it’s especially pronounced in the low-earning brackets – particularly immigrant workers, many in industries deemed essential at the height of the pandemic. Now, elected officials in Southern California are working on a number of proposals that would aim to curb these workplace abuses. Los Angeles wage theft lawyer

Among the changes, subcontractors of San Diego County would be required to publicly disclose certain employment information, including whether they are providing workers’ compensation insurance as required to their employees.

The measures come in response to numerous complaints of employee exploitation that include workers alleging they have not been paid for all the hours they worked and being denied the opportunity to stay home on days when they were injured or sick. Workers have been reticent to report such violations, fearing it may get them fired or possibly even deported. Continue Reading ›

Almost 50 years after the first federal law protecting against LGBTQ discrimination, lawmakers are again faced with a vote that could provide additional protections for the community. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld several protections for LGBTQ people, but as our Los Angeles LGBTQ employment attorneys recognize, federal laws are needed to protect those in a growing number of states passing statutes that restrict LGBTQ rights. As it stands, the current, more conservative, Supreme Court has indicated its desire to bolster protections for religious freedom over LGBTQ worker rights.  LGBT worker rights lawyer

Currently up for consideration is the Equality Act, a wide-sweeping legislation that would bar discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. It has already passed the House of Representatives and if it clears the Senate, will make its way to the desk of President Joe Biden.

The measure is important because, unlike here in California, LGTBQ workers in many other states do not have federal protections against discrimination in employment, housing and public spaces (although an overwhelming percentage of Americans mistakenly believe they do).

But the question is whether the Equality Act has any chance of becoming law. Continue Reading ›

A California gender discrimination lawsuit has been filed against the state corrections department, with a female maintenance worker alleging her previous employer repeatedly harassed and targeted her because of her gender. Plaintiff says her former manager not only discriminated against her, but jeopardized workers’ safety and wasted money in the process. Los Angeles gender discrimination lawyer

According to The Sacramento Bee, plaintiff was passed over for a promotion and endured emotional and psychological stress due to the manager’s treatment. She’s seeking damages for lost wages, benefits and emotional distress. Ultimately, she is hoping the litigation will draw attention to how women are treated in male-dominated professions, prisons in particular.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, approximately 28 percent of the staff are female. For decades, women only worked in facilities housing female prisoners. But despite their ranks growing significantly in all sectors since the 1970s, female employees at all prisons have routinely suffered abuse and harassment from inmates and guards. It doesn’t help that for years, there has been public criticism of these workers, alleging the work is simply too dangerous for women and urging them to simply leave. Continue Reading ›

An online complaint of sexual harassment endured by workers at art gallery fundraisers that has garnered a groundswell of support, the San Diego Union-Tribune recently reported. Submitted to Change.org as a signature drive, a former attendant at the San Diego Museum of Art alleged the organization routinely hosts booze-fueled fundraisers wherein guests feel free to grope female workers. Rather than protecting their employees, the complaint alleges, officials at the museum blamed staff and refused to consider adoption of policies that would stop them from being subjected to sexual harassment and abuse on-the-job. It seemed the concerns of women of color in particular were outright dismissed. Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer

The complainant reported that they should not have to feel unsafe coming to work as, “We are not nightclub workers.”

Of course, it’s the position of our Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys that no worker should feel unsafe coming to work for fear of sexual harassment – whether that workplace is in a nightclub, restaurant, office, airplane, tomato field or art museum. Continue Reading ›

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