Articles Posted in gender discrimination

Nearly a dozen women are suing the Walt Disney Company for California gender discrimination, saying the corporation systemically denies fair pay to its female employees and that pay secrecy is integral to that inequality. gender discrimination lawyer Los Angeles

As our Los Angeles gender discrimination lawyers can explain, pay secrecy is a policy long used by employers that prohibits employee discussions about how much they earn. While silence over salaries tends to be the societal norm, it’s not the law. What’s more, it’s been shown to perpetuate gender pay disparity against women because it deprives female employees of the information they need to demand equal pay.

According to California Labor Code section 232, employers are banned from these types of secrecy policies and cannot discipline workers on the basis of wage disclosures. It hasn’t been a commonly litigated provision historically (it’s been a state law since 1985), but there has been somewhat of an uptick in these sorts of claims over the last several years. California law stipulates that employers cannot require employees to refrain from disclosing wages, require employees to waive this right or take averse employment action against workers who do. Employers who violate this provision (usually in conjunction with some other type of employment discrimination claim) can be compelled to pay substantial damages, including for lost wages and benefits, emotional distress and punitive damages.

There is also the California Fair Pay Act, which goes even further to shield employees’ right to discuss their own pay openly with co-workers. Beyond that, the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 prohibits employer retaliation against workers who talk wages with their co-workers.

And yet, some employers persist with policies like these. Continue Reading ›

Unlawful gender and racial bias against women and Asians in the hiring process at Google will cost the company $2.6 million. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor is requiring the tech giant to review its practices for hiring and pay, fund an independent study on is own gender pay equity and provide the government routine updates on its efforts to reduce gender pay equity.employment attorney

The lawsuit came about as part of a federal government contractor audit of numerous Google sites in California, Washington state and New York. That analysis revealed numerous indicators that the company was not in compliance with an executive order that prohibits discrimination in federal contractor hiring and wages.

The analysis indicated that over a three-year span starting in 2014, the company paid female engineers in numerous offices (including in California) substantially less than male engineers for the same jobs. Further, evidence indicated the company discriminated against women and Asian applicants applying to be engineers at several California sites. Continue Reading ›

As we usher in a new year, many will remember 2020 as a year of significant challenges. In the arena of employment law, we recognize that America’s workplaces have long been plagued by discrimination and harassment. In the last 20 years, virtually all of the country’s biggest companies have paid to settle at least one claim of sexual harassment and/or discrimination. That’s according to Good Jobs First, and bear in mind: Those are only the cases that were publicly reported.gender discrimination lawyer

Federal and state laws prohibit sex-based harassment and discrimination. Despite this, companies in the U.S. still only pay women $0.082 on average for every dollar men are paid. Black women are paid even less. This wage gap has budged very little since 2000.

The U.S. EEOC in 2019 received more than 70,000 complaints of discrimination on the basis of sex, age, religion, race and disability. More than 7,500 complaints of sexual harassment were made during that time.

One positive thing about 2020 was that it gave further rise to the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements, empowering workers to increasingly turn to courts for employer accountability for violations of civil rights, discriminatory work practices and work environments. Some of those claims over last three years have involved huge companies paying multi-million dollar settlements in cases that made big headlines.

Here, we take a look back at the highest profile sexual harassment and gender discrimination cases of 2020.

Amazon. Amazon was hit with numerous employment lawsuits in 2020. In February, a former manager in charge of hiring sued after she says her boss asked her to comb applicants’ Facebook and Instagram accounts to glean information about their race and gender. When she complained, she says, she was fired. The company was also accused of harassment and retaliation after demoting and later denying promotion to a transgender man after he revealed his pregnancy.

Bloomberg LP. The media company was accused of allowing the longtime and widespread sexual harassment of ex-CBS host Charlie Rose. Eight women worked for or aspired to work for the host in the 90s, 2000s and 2010s. Rose’s show aired on both PBS and Bloomberg TV. Although some of the plaintiffs in the case against Bloomberg have already settled with CBS, they allege Bloomberg was complicit. Rose owned his own production company, but operated within Bloomberg headquarters. Many operations for Rose’s company (including payments and benefits) were managed by Bloomberg. The employees now suing Bloomberg say they were jointly employed both by Rose and Bloomberg, a point likely to be hotly contested.

Disney. A gender-based pay discrimination lawsuit filed in 2019 is still ongoing, and was joined by several other former employees last year. Ten executives in all allege rampant gender pay discrimination as of March 2020. The newest claim alleged that her $75,000 starting salary at the company was far less than a male colleague’s starting salary. She further alleged she was passed over on promotions, given smaller raises on average and dissuaded from discussing gender discrimination complaints with the CEO by a top female executive.

FOX News. Former host Ed Henry was accused of a violent sexual assault of a former producer. Another employee alleged Henry sexually harassed her, as did several other high-profile hosts. The network was reportedly made aware of these claims, but did nothing to intervene or stop them. Henry is no longer employed by the network. It was just a few years ago that the network settled with Gretchen Carlson for $20 million over claims of sexual harassment by the company’s former chairman, Roger Ailes.

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For nearly a quarter century, California has banned affirmative action programs that allow consideration of gender or race in public employment, contracting and university admissions. In the most recent election, California voters decided overwhelmingly to reject a ballot initiative that would have reversed this. Only one of the state’s 58 counties voted to approve Prop. 16, which was ultimately defeated by a margin of more than 2 million votes statewide. Los Angeles gender discrimination lawyer

As our Los Angeles employment attorneys can explain, that means that for now, California will continue to be just one of 10 states that bar gender- and race-based programming benefitting those well-documented to be at a disadvantage in these arenas. Continue Reading ›

California law protects both transgender and pregnant workers, but rarely do employment law cases combine the two. Recently in New Jersey, a transgender man filed an employment lawsuit against Amazon alleging he was harassed and turned down for a promotion after revealing his pregnancy to his employer. Los Angeles LGBT employment lawyer

According to NBC News, the man informed his boss about the pregnancy in the summer of last year. His boss disclosed this information to other managers, and word spread throughout the facility. Soon, other warehouse workers were bullying and harassing him about using the men’s bathroom. Suddenly, his work performance came under fire. He was placed on paid leave after complaining to human resources. When he returned, he learned he’d been demoted to a position of “item picker,” which required him to lift heavy items on a routine basis. At that point, he told HR that the weight lifting requirements were causing him pain in his abdomen. Again, he was placed on paid leave and told to acquire a doctor’s recommendation for pregnancy-related accommodations. He did so, he said, but was denied.

He was then offered a promotion at a different facility – one that would have granted him a reprieve from the people harassing him – but that was later rescinded and he was fired. His termination came the same month he was to give birth. He now alleges gender discrimination and pregnancy discrimination, and is seeking recovery of lost wages and benefits as well as coverage of legal fees and punitive damages. Continue Reading ›

Pinterest, a $21 billion company that markets mostly to women on its virtual pinboards, is accused by its former chief operating officer of rampant sexism, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination. She alleges she was fired for speaking out about disparate treatment between female and male top executives. Orange County gender discrimination lawyer

As The New York Times reports, the former COO says in her San Francisco Superior Court lawsuit that she was excluded out of key meetings, given professional feedback that was highly gendered and she was paid less than her male peers when she was first brought on. She learned the pay disparity after the company filed to go public last year. She talked about how decisions were often made in informal discussions among male colleagues; the “meeting after the meeting.” Despite being the No. 2 executive, she said she endured a culture of constant exclusion. When she ultimately spoke up about it, she said, she was dismissed (the dispute compared to a domestic squabble), maligned (told she wasn’t working collaboratively enough) and ultimately fired.

As our Orange County gender discrimination lawyers can explain, this type of discriminatory action in the upper echelons of corporate America may look slightly different than at other levels, particularly as it can be more subtle. But one thing our employment lawyers have noted no matter the pay grade is that workers who speak out about unfair treatment may find themselves may find themselves a target of demotion, loss of benefits or firing. This in itself is an illegal act called retaliation. Continue Reading ›

A prominent, national law firm is facing a growing number of lawsuits pertaining to its secretive compensation system that former attorneys say hides systematic pay discrimination against women. Some of those include claims, filed in 2018, included plaintiffs who worked for the firm in California, as the ABA Journal reported. gender discrimination

In that case, the lawsuit alleges there was an enforced “code of silence” with regard to pay and productivity wherein partners kept compensation information confidential. That left female attorneys out in the cold, unable to discover or attempt to equalize their pay. Guidelines at the firm were reportedly changed to discourage – but not outright forbid – discussions of pay among partners and employees.

Recently, a U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied the law firm’s motion to dismiss these lawsuit, though the court did dismiss several of the pregnancy discrimination claims. Continue Reading ›

The 1963 Equal Pay Act mandates that employers must provide equal pay for equal work. The express purpose was to eliminate the practice of paying women less simply because of their gender. The law does allow employers to offer an affirmative defense to the law if they can show that some factor other than one’s gender played a role in lower pay. The question recently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Rizo v. Yovino was whether a California math teacher/consultant’s past salary qualified as a “factor other than sex” that allowed the school district to legally pay her less than her male counterparts. On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the appellate court ruled that it is not. California Equal Pay violation

In other words, the school district can’t use one’s prior salary as an excuse to pay them less. The court ruled that to allow employers to pay workers less solely based on the pay of a previous employer would essentially defeat the purpose of the federal Equal Pay law and perpetuate gender inequities in pay. As our Los Angeles equal pay lawyers can explain, fact that women have been paid less ion the past isn’t justification to continue paying them less.

Several other federal appellate courts have held that if defendants in an equal pay case present a “factor other than sex” defense, that factor has to be job-related. Only one court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, has held that the defense can involve any number of essentially limitless other factors, so long as none of them involves the employee’s gender. Continue Reading ›

Pregnancy discrimination remains an ongoing problem in workplaces throughout the U.S. and California. Women make up half the workforce, and almost 85 percent of them will become mothers at some point during their careers. And yet, as our Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination lawyers have seen time and again, pregnancy and childbirth are treated as if they are some kind of deviation from the norm. That’s because many workplaces are constructed around the arcane idea that the ideal worker is male. Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination lawyer

An employer commits pregnancy discrimination when taking adverse action on the basis of an employee’s pregnancy, childbirth or condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Some pregnancy-related medical conditions may include:

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Hyperemesis gravidarum
  • Preeclampsia

Pregnant workers with these conditions are entitled to reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Food Service Industry Pregnancy Discrimination

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As an employee in California, you have rights under both state and federal law that protect you from harassment and discrimination based on your belonging to a protected classification. For example, if you are a woman paid substantially less than male colleagues doing the same work, that’s a form of gender discrimination on the basis of sex – a protected class. Los Angeles employment lawyer

In fielding hundreds of inquiries over the years from California workers whose rights are being violated on-the-job, our Los Angeles employment attorneys want to ensure as many people as possible understand what exactly harassment, discrimination and retaliation is and how to best address it.

What is Workplace Discrimination? 

Discrimination is adverse treatment by an employer against workers who fall into a protected class. California employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Gender (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions)
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Citizenship status
  • Genetic information
  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity/expression
  • AIDS/HIV
  • Military/veteran status
  • Status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking or assault

This is much more extensive than the federal law, and some cities in California have their own rules that extend protections even further. Continue Reading ›

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