A recent survey from Association of Flight Attendants has revealed some disturbing statistics about sexual harassment in the field. sexual harassmentAccording to the survey, 68 percent of respondents said they have experienced sexual harassment during their career. Even when isolated to just the past year, 35 percent reported verbal harassment and 20 percent physical harassment. This is a significant jump over a nationwide poll, which shows 38 percent of respondents experienced workplace harassment in their careers, according to an SF Gate report. The survey that addressed all women, released by Stop Street Harassment, Raliance, and Center on Gender Equity and Health, showed 81 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment in general, whether inside or outside the workplace.

This could explain why the number is much higher for flight attendants than other workers. In other work environments, workers are often interacting with other employees. There is more oversight and potential consequence for sexual harassment. Employees see each other every day, so there is no anonymity. If the company acts with integrity, there are strict rules and prevention strategies already in place. Even with all of those factors, a shocking number of people still face harassment. But on an airplane, attendants are interacting with strangers every day. They are in tight quarters and sometimes serving drinks to guests. Not to mention, flight attendants have long been sexualized in media and advertising, adding fuel to the fire of people who think they are entitled to harass others. Continue reading

After injuring her wrist on the job, being accused of theft, and having her employment terminated after 14 years, one former Chipotle wrongful terminationemployee finally has been vindicated. A jury awarded her nearly $8 million in damages as the result of a wrongful termination lawsuit plaintiff filed in Fresno County Superior Court after she was fired in 2015. Managers accused her of stealing $626 from the chain restaurant, and went so far as to tell her they had surveillance footage of the incident. When plaintiff denied the theft and demanded managers produce the video, they claimed it was deleted, expecting her to be satisfied with eye witness testimony of other employees who claimed to have seen the video, according to a report from The Fresno Bee.

This was unacceptable to plaintiff, and jury members agreed. Not only did they not believe plaintiff to be a thief, but determined she was a victim in the whole ordeal. Plaintiff alleged she was framed for the theft as retaliation for filing a worker’s compensation claim. Ortiz was fired while she was out on medical leave, weeks after the theft allegedly took place. She had filed a worker’s compensation claim shortly before the alleged incident, and continued to work to the best of her abilities until she could start her leave. At the same time, plaintiff alleged that supervisors were instructing her to downplay her injury to her doctors so she would not have to take medical leave, but she refused. Plaintiff argues this set up motivation to try to defame her. Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits an employer from retaliating an employee from asserting their rights under the law, including for medical conditions.

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As the #MeToo movement has proven, it’s tough being a woman in the workplace, particularly working in a male-dominated field. Evenage discrimination tougher, it seems, is the discrimination women face as they get older and try to maintain their standing in their professional careers. Many face a different set of standards as they age than their male counterparts, according to an examination by Forbes. Men’s age is often seen as a symbol of experience, status, wisdom, and leadership capabilities. Even if they lack the modern skills some younger people bring to the workforce, they are typically valued for the knowledge they can share with those inexperienced in the field. For women, though, their age can be construed as a sign that they are outdated, out-of-touch, and lacking technical abilities. Sadly, physical appearance is frequently a factor is these discriminatory practices, with men’s appearances being viewed more favorably as they age.

Ageism and sexism run deep in our society, so some might not even be aware they are mentally perceiving their employees differently. But hidden biases are not an excuse to give employees unequal treatment. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Sec. 623 clearly states it is unlawful to fail or refuse to hire someone because of their age, or to discriminate in any way including compensation or terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The law also prohibits classifying or segregating an employee in such a way that deprives them of opportunities other employees enjoy as a result of his or her age. Reduction of wages due to a person’s age is also illegal. Of course consideration of a person’s sex was already prohibited in workplace hiring, firing, and promotion matters based on Title VII of the civil rights Act of 1964.

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What started as two delivery drivers fighting for their employee status has blossomed into a landmark class-action lawsuit that could have a major ripple effect on employee classification in California and the gig economy in general. In the case ofemployee misclassification lawyers Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, et al, the California Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s decision that classified a class of delivery drivers as employees rather than independent contractors, as Dynamex had been classifying them. The ruling sets a new precedent for guidelines necessary to determine a workers’ classification that expands the definition of “employee” broader than current standards, according to National Law Review.

The ruling supersedes another made by the court in the case of S.G. Borello & Sons Inc. v. Department of Industrial Relations in 1989, which established a multi-faceted test based on how much control or autonomy an employee had in regards to the company. The new three-point standard, or the ABC standard, established by the ruling is a more commonly used method that simplifies the determining process, but also broadly increases how many workers would qualify as employees across the board. The first point (A) is in line with the previous precedent, in that it speaks specifically to workers functioning outside the control of the employer for the performance of the work; B) worker has other regular work outside the company in question; and C) that they work in an occupation, trade, or business that is independently established. Under these rules, the Supreme Court sided with the former opinion that these drivers should be classified as employees, with all the benefits that come with that. “Employee” has become defined as “all workers who would ordinarily be viewed as working in the hiring business,” according to the CA Supreme Court ruling.

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California Labor Law once again has demonstrated itself to be a protector of employees, as one former Allstate Insurance Co. employee canwrongful termination lawyer attest. A jury recently awarded the employee more than 18 million dollars in a wrongful termination lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court on allegations that Allstate did not have grounds to fire him in 2015.

The outcome here hinged largely on CA Labor Code, 432.7, which states no employer shall determine any condition of employment on “any record of arrest or detention that did not result in conviction.” That means if an employee is arrested, but the charges were dropped or the person was found not guilty, the employer cannot use it as cause to fire the employee.

That’s exactly what plaintiff claimed happened at Allstate, according to an article in San Diego Union Tribune. Plaintiff had been arrested on two charges of domestic violence and possession of marijuana paraphernalia. Two charges were dismissed shortly after. The third charge of domestic violence disorderly conduct was also dismissed six months after the others upon plaintiff’s completion of an anger management course. Continue reading

wrongful terminationTwo cheerleaders have filed lawsuits against the National Football League for what they say was wrongful termination, discrimination and harassment. One cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints was dismissed after she posted a bathing suit photo of herself online, and another for the Miami Dolphins left after she was allegedly harassed for publicly discussing her choice to remain abstinent until marriage.

What do they most hope to get out of the lawsuits? Change.

In a surprise turn of events, their attorney recently offered to drop the lawsuits in exchange for a $1 settlement and a face-to-face talk with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, according to an article from The Nation. They want a good faith conversation about how to set clear guidelines going forward that are fair to all employees. The two plaintiffs have very different stories that they allege concluded with the same result: discrimination and loss of their dream jobs. Continue reading

The story of sexual harassment in the workplace has been around since the beginning of workplaces. Yet, this past year has seen ansexual harassment explosion of accusations, resignations, and renewed policies thanks to the #MeToo Movement. People, particularly women, who once felt too vulnerable to speak up against sexual misconduct have been emboldened. These new voices have exposed a tragic pattern in workplaces across the country, and in doing so have revealed possibly the most vulnerable group of all workers: teenagers.

A Wall Street Journal report recently uncovered the concerns many parents face sending their teenagers into the workplace as the season for summer jobs is upon us. The fact that so many people are talking about sexual harassment in the workplace, which has led to stricter policies and more accountability, could lend some protection to teenagers who are starting their first jobs. However, our experienced employment attorneys know change takes time, and the problem is far from being solved.

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Federal law protects the right to practice your religion as you see fit, with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee for their religious beliefs, as well as race, color, sex, or national origin. Employers must also provide reasonable accommodations for employees to practice their religion “unless an employer demonstrates that he is unable to reasonably accommodate to an employee’s or prospective employee’s religious observance or practice without undue hardship.”religious discrimination

However, this is not the only way religion can affect the work place. Take for example a recent lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in which a discount medical plan provider and its parent company were recently ordered to pay 10 former employees a sum of $5.1 million, after plaintiffs claimed management within the company wanted them to participate in specific religious practices and allegedly retaliated against them when they refused, according to Newsday. Continue reading

Here in California, there are strong statutes protecting employees from pay-based discrimination. Our employment attorneys recognize,sex discrimination though, that much of the country fall short of these standards. Luckily for the people of New Jersey, those changes are coming sooner than later (and even giving California labor laws a run for their money) thanks to recent actions by the state’s new leader.

Gov. Phil Murphy has signed into law Bill AI/SI04, which sanctions employers for gender pay disparities between employees with the same responsibilities. This move was counter to those of previous Gov. Chris Christie, who vetoed a similar bill, according to a report from the Associated Press. Throughout his term, Christie vetoed pay equity bills three times.

Previously, the state’s Law Against Discrimination only allowed those seeking damages to collect back pay for two years. The new legislation raises that number to six years. As our employment attorneys can explain, this not only is a huge step to rectifying wage disparities for women, but also acts as a heavy deterrent for companies, ideally forcing them to evaluate their decisions on pay before they become an issue. The new legislation also establishes that employers must pay equally for “substantially similar work,” not just simply the same title, similar to the California Equal Pay Act. Continue reading

It seems wherever there is a law to protect employees from harassment in the workplace, there is another law that harassers will try tosexual harassment exploit to silence their victims. State legislators are looking to tie up some of those loopholes to continue the momentum created by the #MeToo Movement. Their mission is to encourage employees to report wrongdoing without fear of repercussions and also give employers more freedom to side with and protect victims. 

AB-2770, introduced by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), would expand the information a former employer is allowed to disclose to a prospective employer to include sexual harassment allegations. Current law allows a prospective employer to ask a representative from the candidate’s previous place of employment if the company would re-hire that person if given the opportunity. The new bill would allow the former employer to cite, without malice, accusations of sexual harassment with credible evidence as the reason they would not hire back an employee. It also provides protection to employees from retaliatory defamation lawsuits in response to formal harassment accusations being filed. This would set a standard that would allow accusers and employers the freedom to discuss credible allegations more freely. Continue reading