Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg recently vowed to release former female employees from the non-disclosure agreements they signed in connection with their sexual harassment lawsuit settlements at his namesake company. The announcement came just days after Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren slammed Bloomberg over the agreements during the Democratic presidential debates in Las Vegas. Bloomberg said in a statement he had identified three non-disclosure agreements that were signed in resolution of complaints against statements he personally had made to his female employees. Those settlements were reached over 30 years ago. sexual harassment lawyer

Debate moderators had raised the question of Bloomberg’s past remarks about women, to which the billionaire responded that he would not tolerate the kind of behavior that #MeToo exposed. That’s when Warren made a point to underscore the non-disclosure agreements. Bloomberg downplayed both the number of non-disclosure agreements in which he was involved and the nature of what was alleged, characterizing the allegations as “maybe they didn’t like a joke I told.”

Bloomberg is far from the only person to come under fire for non-disclosure agreements in sexual harassment cases. Numerous women reportedly harassed and/or assaulted by Harvey Weinstein were compelled to sign non-disclosure agreements in order to settle their cases against him. The same was reportedly done in cases involving USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. Continue reading

As fears of the highly-contagious and potentially fatal coronavirus continue to spread, authorities have imposed numerous drastic measures and quarantine actions, from keeping passengers for weeks on a cruise ship to canceling classes for Japanese school children for the rest of the year. Some factories in Vietnam were forced to shut down operations when mangers on holiday in China were barred from traveling. workplace discrimination coronavirus

So what happens if you miss work due to illness or quarantine? What sort of job protections exist for workers under federal law?

First, let’s start by explaining what a quarantine is. A quarantine is the confinement of individuals who either have been or could have been exposed to a certain communicable illness or disease. Someone can be quarantined even if they don’t have the illness. This is different from isolation, which occurs when individuals who are sick are kept somewhere separate from those who are sick. Both state and federal governments in the U.S. have the legal authority to quarantine, though governments typically work together to determine if it’s necessary. A quarantine can last anywhere from a few hours to several weeks. If it stretches on past a few days, it could easily affect one’s ability to make a living. Continue reading

A for-profit nursing home chain operating dozens of facilities in several states (including California) has agreed to pay $2 million and implement other corrective measures after being sued for disability discrimination.Los Angeles disability discrimination

Local media report that at the heart of the case were strict hiring and leave policies that unfairly affected those suffering a disability. Like far too many employers, the company seemed to be under the impression that applicants and workers had to be 100 percent capable of performing every job function as-is (without accommodation or restriction), and that employees need not be extended further consideration if they had run out of FMLA and sick leave time. This is not true.

As our Los Angeles disability discrimination lawyers can explain, such policies violate federal law – specifically the Americans with Disabilities Act. Continue reading

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has launched an investigation into an alleged case of pregnancy discrimination stemming from a former employee’s memo that went viral last year. pregnancy discrimination

The memo, titled, “I’m Not Returning to Google After Maternity Leave, and Here is Why, My Story of Retaliation and Discrimination at Google,” was penned by a former manager. She had worked for the company for five years, receiving stellar reviews during that time. According to her letter, treatment by her supervisors abruptly changed once she spoke up to human resources on behalf of a worker who was pregnant. Her supervisor had begun making inappropriate comments about the pregnant worker to other managers, lamenting that she was pregnant again, saying the employee was overly-emotional and difficult to work with while pregnant and expressing regret that adverse action could not be taken against her because, “you can’t touch employees after they disclose such things.” Once HR spoke to the offending supervisor, her attitude toward the claimant suddenly changed.

Claimant, who herself was pregnant, says the company retaliated against by unfairly denying her a leadership position and suddenly giving her poor performance reviews. She was transferred to another team at her request, but was told she couldn’t be a manager until after she returned from maternity leave because her being gone for three months would “rock the boat.” She later told media outlets that it wasn’t until she hired an employment attorney that the company’s HR department finally launched an investigation into her numerous complaints of discrimination and retaliation. Continue reading

A survey of foreign H-1B visa holders working at tech industry employers like Apple, Lyft and Samsung say they’ve been subjected to a significant degree of workplace discrimination ever since the Trump administration made it tougher to qualify for the visas. citizenship discrimination

Visa holders say they are assigned to working conditions that dangerous, degrading and often very stressful. Nearly half of visa holders surveyed said they believe they earn less than their co-workers because of their visa status – despite the fact that the U.S. Department of Labor specifically says H-1B visa holders are not to make any less than the prevailing wage set for their role in the area where they work. Technically though, federal law does still authorize employers to misclassify H-1B visa holders as “entry level employees,” so they can earn less. A computer programmer, for example, might earn $40,000 less as an entry-level worker compared to one with experience. Still, that classification defies logic because by definition, H-1B visa holders re supposed to be highly-skilled.

The H-1B visa program allows foreign skilled workers to be brought to the U.S. to work for a limited amount of time. It’s the main way that U.S. companies hire skilled foreign workers. The program, which is already capped at 85,000 employees (less than 1 percent of the U.S. total workforce) has slowed substantially under the current administration’s policy of buying and hiring American. Priority has been given to foreign workers who hold a U.S. higher education degree. This has led to H-1B visa holder workers feeling discriminated against and treated as second-class. Yet workers feel as if they cannot speak up because the H-1B spots are so coveted and their eligibility for the program is specifically tied to employer sponsorship. Continue reading

Even though marriage equality has become the law of the land, there are still 30 states that lack explicit employment discrimination protections for LGBTQ workers. California, thankfully, isn’t one of them. The U.S. Supreme Court is slated to render a decision in two cases wherein plaintiffs argue that Title VII protections against gender discrimination should extend to LGBTQ workers. (Justice Neil Gorsuch remarked during oral arguments that the case was “really close.”)LGBTQ teacher discrimination

That decision will have a huge impact for LGBTQ public school teachers and employees.

History of LGBTQ Discrimination in Schools

Schools have a long history of discrimination against gay and lesbian teachers – from public elementary schools to prestigious universities. In the 1950s and 1960s, Florida lawmakers created a committee designed to identify and fire educators who were gay and lesbian. Some 200 LGBTQ teachers lost their jobs. Continue reading

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has just released detailed breakdowns of the top employment discrimination claims of fiscal year 2019, which ended in September.workplace retaliation lawyer

In total, there were nearly 72,700 claims of workplace discrimination filed with the federal agency. That’s down slightly from the nearly 76,500 claims filed with the agency in FY 2018 and more than 84,000 filed in FY 2017.

The top claims were as follows:

  1. Retaliation
  2. Disability Discrimination
  3. Racial Discrimination
  4. Gender Discrimination
  5. Age Discrimination

These were followed by claims of discrimination on the basis of national origin, color, religion, equal pay and genetic information. Continue reading

A recently-released Starbucks advertisement in the UK has been hailed for its progressive take on gender identity acceptance. A barista asks for the name of a customer for use on a coffee cup. He gives her the name with which he identifies – not his “deadname,” the one he was given at birth. The commercial has won an award for helping to address the transgender community’s lack of representation in advertising. LGBT discrimination

However, employees with the company say they have faced transgender discrimination at multiple locations across the country. Employees say they have been outed, misgendered, confronted by their deadnames in company software and had difficulty accessing gender-affirming medical treatment under the company’s medical insurance plans.

Some employees say they had to be transferred to new locations due to these issues and harassment – only to experience the same type of treatment at the new location. One former employee told BuzzFeed he complained about the situation to corporate, but didn’t hear any response until he took his complaint to Twitter. It was only then a spokesperson for the company apologized and promised to investigate. The worker said that while the company appears to be trying to make changes at the corporate level, addressing it at individual stores has proven challenging. Continue reading

Employment discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination aren’t solely the problem of large corporations. It’s true that the federal discrimination lawsuits against Fortune 500 companies tend to make splashier headlines, especially when they conclude in multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. But small businesses can be just as susceptible to these issues. employment lawsuit

Many small business owners are unprepared when these lawsuits are filed. The fact is that the bulk of litigation filed against businesses of all sizes involves employment disputes. About 40 percent of those are filed against smaller employers, with somewhere between 15 and 100 employees.

Employment lawsuits can more deeply affect a smaller employer, so it’s important for them not only to be insured, but also to be proactive in preventing disputes in the first place. That means knowing the law (including all the new employment laws that were passed in California recently), being sure there are clear policies and procedures in place to address problems and making certain those avenues for resolution are communicated to staff and supervisors. Continue reading

Employers in California have a fair amount of discretion when it comes to whether to hire or fire someone for use of illegal substances. But what of legal substances? Orange County employment lawyer

Our Orange County employment lawyers know the question has gotten thornier as more states have legalized marijuana and since hemp-dervived CBD (the non-intoxicating cannabis compound) was legalized at the federal level with the 2018 Farm Bill.

As long as marijuana remains illegal under federal law, employers will likely retain the right to fire employees who test positive for the drug in routine screenings (so long as the screening process isn’t applied in a way that is discriminatory to any protected group). That’s not to say employers are wise to continue with such a policy, given the growing public acceptance for recreational and medicinal use of the drug. Strict no tolerance policies could result in companies losing valuable talent for no good reason. But they’d still technically be within their right to do it. They are also within their rights to prohibit marijuana on their premises, even if an employee uses the drug for medicinal purposes.

The rights of employees who use CBD (cannabidiol) products is a bit murkier. We’re just now beginning to see courts weigh in on worker rights where CBD is concerned. Continue reading