Articles Posted in gender discrimination

A California gender discrimination lawsuit against a prominent gaming company has been approved for settlement at $100 million, to be split (after legal costs) among 1,000 employees (current and former) employed by the firm in 2018. The deal was approved by the court following allegations of widespread sexism and gender-based harassment. It follows a previous $10 million proposed settlement in 2019 that the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing rejected as inadequate. (The agency estimated the company could easily owe female employees upwards of $400 million for misconduct.)Los Angeles gender discrimination lawyer

Plaintiffs in the case described a “toxic” on-the-job culture at Riot Games, a $1.6 billion tech firm with rampant “bro culture,” rife with harassment, sexism, and discrimination. In August 2018, gaming news site Kotaku published an expose detailing how problematic the company culture had become.

Some of the anecdotes detailed:

  • Female employees were described as “too punchy,” “not gamer enough,” “too emotional,” “too aggressive,” “too ambitious” or having “too much ego” to be leaders at the company.
  • Supervisors would ask female employees if it was tough to work there while “being so cute.”
  • Supervisors would comment in public meetings about how the husbands and kids of female employees must really miss them while they were at work.
  • The idea of a female worker fell flat during a meeting. A male colleague, skeptical of her claim of sexism, agreed to present the same idea in the same manner to the same group at another meeting a few days later. The reception this time around was that this idea was “amazing.”
  • Women alleged they worked jobs above their title and pay grade, believing they were being groomed for a promotion, only to have a male employee suddenly brought in to replace them.
  • Constant, unsolicited exposure to images of male genitalia displayed by male supervisors.
  • A female worker was accidentally CC’d on an internal group e-mail in which a male co-worker indicated he’d like to sleep with her and then never call her again.

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Equal pay rights in California are guaranteed under both state and federal laws that promise to protect employees from disparate wages paid on the basis of gender or race.

Recently, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team reached a $22 million proposed settlement in a class action equal pay lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. The settlement stemmed from a longtime legal dispute filed eight years ago alleging federal equal pay violations by five higher-profile members of the women’s national team. Each said that as a member of the women’s team, they were paid thousands of dollars less than their male counterparts – at virtually every level of the competition. This was followed by a 2019 lawsuit filed by 28 players alleging female players were consistently paid less than their male counterparts – despite consistently showing up the men’s team on field performance. That claim was filed months after the U.S. men’s soccer team failed to qualify for the World Cup, while the women’s team won its second tournament in a row. Amid the chants in the crowd were demands for, “Equal pay!” California equal pay act

In 2020, a federal court dismissed the claim by the women’s team that they were paid less for the same work (among other parts of their claim), finding there were key differences in the contract structurers of the men’s team versus the women’s team. Other aspects of the women’s team claims pertaining to working conditions were settled out-of-court a few months ago. Several of the players then filed an appeal on the equal pay claims, arguing the judge failed to analyze the rates of pay or the fact that women needed to win more often than men to receive the same bonuses. The $22 million settlement is the result of that appeal.

Our Los Angeles equal pay attorneys recognize that the settlement amount was only one-third the amount players initially sought, but it still amounts to a significant victory. It also opens the door to discuss what types of California equal pay claims are valid, and what they can entail.

The California Fair Pay Act

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A popular video game maker is attempting to narrow the definition of the California sex discrimination law as defined by state law to exclude temporary workers. So far, the effort isn’t going well, as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge provisionally denied the employer’s request. Still, that isn’t a final ruling, so it’s still possible the question could be revived – or ultimately appealed. Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer

Activision, which makes games like Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, World of Warcraft, and Tony Hawk Pro Skater, has been the target of a tidal wave of gender discrimination claims. Our Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers have been monitoring the legal developments, and this case in particular was filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing on behalf of female workers.

The company alleges the state erroneously expanded the employment lawsuit recently when it filed an amended complaint that included not only current and former female employees, but temporary employees and contingent workers. Lawyers for the defense say they were never notified of the state’s investigation into these workers before litigation was filed. This, the attorneys say, was a violation of the company’s due process rights. Continue Reading ›

An electric automaker that recently became a publicly-traded company is now being sued for alleged workplace gender discrimination, with the plaintiff (a former sales and marketing VP) alleging the “bro culture” at the firm had become toxic. gender discrimination attorney

According to TechCrunch.com, plaintiff, who had a long employment history with other prominent car manufacturers, joined the Rivian team in California late last year. She was fired, however, after reporting gender discrimination to the human resources department. Although the company has declined to comment on the discrimination allegations, plaintiff has not only filed her claim in court, but also made a statement with the American Arbitration Association and written a blog post on the company’s issues on Medium.

Among her claims:

  • She was regularly ignored by a superior when trying to point out problems.
  • She was routinely kept out of important meetings attended by male peers who were making key decisions.
  • Choices regarding her team were made without her input.
Two days after complaining to HR about these issues, she was fired. 
Rivian’s transition to a publicly-traded company is one that has been highly anticipated, with an estimated $8.4 billion anticipated in the initial public offering. It’s estimated there will be 135 million shares sold at somewhere between $57 and $62 each. Underwriters can buy tens of millions more shares, potentially raising the value of the company by nearly $10 billion. 

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The pandemic had sweeping effects on California workers and the economy at large. Some companies saw increases in demand, but for many workers, the impacts were both adverse – and lasting. According to the new study released by the AARP, older women saw some of the worst effects, and they don’t appear to be subsiding. Fair employment advocates say age discrimination and sex discrimination play no little part in the phenomenon. Workers who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of their age or gender should reach out to a long-time, trusted Los Angeles employment law firm.Los Angeles age discrimination lawyer

Some of the primary takeaways from the AARP study,

  • About 40 percent of mid-career and older women workers experienced at least one job interruption during the pandemic.
  • Of those who are still unemployed, roughly 70 percent have been out-of-work for six months or more.
  • Among those who are still employed, most remain concerned about their financial future and potential unemployment.
  • More than 25 percent report their financial situations have worsened over the course of the pandemic.

One common thread for all employed women was the implication of caregiving. It was reported that 1 in 3 took care of a child or grandchild home during the pandemic for remote schooling. For many, that meant they could only work certain shifts or hours or reduced hours. Nearly half of employed women at some point during the pandemic were caring for either a child, grandchild, or adult family member or friend.

Then factor in that age discrimination in hiring has long been a stubborn problem in America’s workplaces for years. Older and mid-career women are often the most significantly impacted. The AARP’s survey of nearly 34,000 women workers found that almost a third who were job hunting believed age discrimination had been a hurdle in their efforts to secure a new position. Continue Reading ›

Stronger protections against California workplace harassment and discrimination are on the way, with Gov. Gavin Newsome’s signing of the “Silenced No More Act,” or SB 331. The measure builds on the protections established in 2018 with the Stand Against Non-Disclosures (STAND) Act, targeting non-disclosure agreements in sexual harassment cases in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Los Angeles Employment Lawyer

As our Los Angeles employment lawyers can explain, SB 331 amends both the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Code of Civil Procedures, Section 1001. It imposes major restrictions on both employment settlement agreements and severances. 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 ›

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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