A woman who served as chief of police in Baldwin Park, about 20 minutes outside of Los Angeles, has been awarded $7 million in a California race and gender discrimination employment lawsuit filed five years ago. The case was among the few gender discrimination claims in California to actually go to a jury trial.
Gender Discrimination in Police Departments
Federal law prohibits harassment on the basis of a person’s gender. This includes sexual harassment, of course, but also harassing a woman or making comments about females generally, as noted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Individuals of either gender can be either victim or harasser, and those involved can be supervisors, co-workers or clients/customers.
Although the law doesn’t bar “simple teasing,” isolated incidents of minimal seriousness and offhand comments, it’s illegal when it’s so severe or frequent that it creates an offensive and hostile work environment OR when the result is an adverse employment action, such as demotion or termination. Continue reading
A few months ago, Hollywood took on a depiction of the first-ever gender discrimination case argued in the U.S. Supreme Court by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was later appointed to that same court as a justice by President Bill Clinton. The film is about a little-known tax case, Moritz v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, in which Ginbsurg successfully argued that a $600 caregiver tax credit shouldn’t be denied to a man solely on that basis.
While it’s difficult to imagine in 2019 that so many laws – employment and otherwise – once distinguished so blatantly between men and women, what may be even more troubling is the fact that gender discrimination is still such a problem in practice. Our Los Angeles sex discrimination employment attorneys know that these cases still abound in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, wages, assignment of jobs, promotions, layoffs, benefits and other conditions of employment. Although these cases can be difficult to win, often plaintiffs – like the man in the $600 tax credit case – don’t do it looking for a windfall. They do it to ensure they and others won’t continue to face the same disparity.
Recently in Los Angeles, a charter school agreed to an $8,000 settlement in a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over an alleged gender-based disparity in pay among school tutors.
It is illegal – in California and across the U.S., per the EEOC – to discriminate against a job applicant based on their race, color, religion, gender (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy) national origin, age (over 40), disability or genetic information. Yet one of the most frequently-used forums to lure new hires has essentially been facilitating just that, according to critics and a few employment lawsuits filed by the National Fair Housing Alliance, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Communication Workers of America.
Social media giant Facebook has faced years of criticism that it allowed companies advertising job listings to use key categories allowing employers to cherry-pick who their ads would be shown to based on age group, gender and race. The New York Times now reports Facebook has agreed it will stop doing this.
It’s not just prospective employees that have been complaining either. Those advertising credit and housing have also been allowed to screen their ads so that they would only show to a certain subset of social media users. (Housing and credit are also regulated by federal anti-discrimination laws that bar selection of applicants on such bases.) Continue reading
Gender discrimination lawsuits are piling up once more against retail giant Wal-Mart, with nearly 100 unfair wage and hour claims filed in Florida and more expected in both California and Ohio later this year. Orange County gender discrimination lawyers are quite familiar with a long history of allegations against Wal-Mart by female workers alleging they were discrimination against for years – in some cases decades.
Perhaps most notable was the 2011 case of Wal-Mart v. Dukes, in which late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the 5-4 majority, reversed the certification of a national class of female employees of Wal-Mart, finding it inconsistent with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a), which requires those seeking class certification to prove the the whole class of plaintiffs has either common questions of law or fact. Despite basically being too expansive, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent described the company’s corporate culture as being “suffused” with gender bias.
Since then, the namesake plaintiff of the Dukes case has died. But many of the women who were originally part of that class she filed originally in 2001 are now in this action. When Dukes case was dismissed, the remaining claims were left under the consideration of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Late last year, the EEOC granted them permission to sue for gender discrimination, citing violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of (among other things) their gender. Disparate treatment in the workplace resulting in systemic adverse treatment of a protected class is considered grounds for a Title VII claim.
In order to be successful in claiming employment discrimination in California, employees must first assert they are part of a protected class that received unfair treatment. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explains that to discriminate means to treat someone less favorably and disparately, with federal protections extending to individuals on the basis of gender, religion, color, race, national origin, disability or age (over 40). In California, unlawful practices spelled out by the Fair Employment and Housing Act 12940 outlines protections for these classes, but also for:
- Genetic information
- Marital status
- Gender identity/gender expression
- Sexual orientation
- Military or veteran status
Part of the reason California’s additional protected classes matter is they go farther than federal law, giving unfairly-treated employees more options to pursue action.
As Los Angeles employment discrimination attorneys can explain, “protected classes” aren’t merely limited to minorities. But employment discrimination is often subtle – and doesn’t necessarily need to actually be a part of a protected class in order to be protected. Discrimination based on the perception of belonging or association with others in these classes can be actionable in California employment discrimination cases too.
Perceived Protected Class Employment Discrimination Continue reading
Employment discrimination can be subtle, but it is described as unequal treatment or attitudes toward one group of employees or against another resulting in unfair, adverse impacts to a protected class of employees or prospective employees. Among the most common questions our Riverside employment discrimination attorneys receive is, “How do I file an employment discrimination lawsuit in California?” One of the first things we need to determine is whether you belong to a protected class, and if so, whether they suffered disparate and negative treatment as at least partially a result of being in that class.
The California Fair Employment Practices Act marks its 60th anniversary in 2019. The law prohibits discrimination against employees and/or applicants on the basis of one’s actual or perceived belonging or association with one of the following protected classes:
Gender (this provision also bars sexual harassment);
- Race and Color
- Marital Status
- National Origin or Ancestry
- Religious Creed
- Pregnancy, Childbirth or Related Conditions (including lactation)
- Age (pertains to individuals over the age of 40)
Once our Riverside employment discrimination attorneys examine the facts of the case to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to file a claim, we’ll give you a detailed rundown of your legal options. Unlike other types of civil claims, the process of filing an employment discrimination claim doesn’t always go straight to court. Continue reading
Transgender worker rights have come under attack in recent years, with President Donald Trump’s recent ban on transgender military members upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and a memo issued last year by the Department of Health and Human Services urging key agencies to adopt definitions of gender that are uniform, explicit, unchangeable and determined by the genitals with which a person was born.
Jurors in Iowa ruled in a transgender discrimination civil lawsuit that the warden of a prison discriminated against a transgender employee by denying him access to men’s locker rooms and bathrooms. The jury also determined the executive branch of the state discriminated by refusing to cover benefits for the worker’s gender reassignment surgery. Plaintiff was awarded $120,000 in damages for emotional distress.
The former nurse was the first to file a lawsuit following a state civil rights law that passed in 2007 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Continue reading
A California employment litigation law firm is battling allegations of gender discrimination, with plaintiffs in two lawsuits alleging the firm discriminates against female law firm partners in wages, promotions and opportunities. There are currently two cases pending – at least one plaintiff a party to both, one in state court the other in federal. The employment lawsuit filed in federal court is bound by arbitration, as an appellate panel recently ruled. However, the California state court claim is not subject to arbitration and reportedly asserts a cause of action under the Private Attorneys General Act. As Los Angeles gender discrimination lawyers can explain, PAGA, amended in 2016, allows employees to recover civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees and the state for labor code violations as outlined in in California Labor Code Division 2, Part 13, Sections 2698-2699.6.
Defendant in this case argues the state lawsuit should be tossed because it “rehashes many of the claims made against defendant” by plaintiff in the earlier lawsuit” – namely retaliation after filing a complaint of discriminatory practices and policies that adversely affected female employees.
One plaintiff alleges that shortly after a former colleague’s discrimination lawsuit was filed in January 2018, her former employer, a defense-side labor and employment law firm, hired an investigator to conduct what she alleges was a “sham investigation” regarding a connection she had with one of her clients. The true purpose of that investigation, she asserts, was to find grounds to discredit and/or terminate her before she joined the first plaintiff’s lawsuit or else filed her own. Continue reading
Women who work in tech are known to be at higher risk of gender disparity. Interestingly, in the early days of electronic computing, many of these jobs were strongly associated with women (as it was considered an unimportant, deskilled work). However, once it became clear that computers would be indispensable in almost every corner of industry and government, the female programmers who once held all the requisite skills suddenly were pushed out, boxed out of their jobs, denied promotions and replaced by men (especially when the women in question were married or had children).
In Silicon Valley, our California employment attorneys know the claims of gender discrimination have been well-documented. While companies insist they are doing their best to address these problems, the reality is progress has been slow and uneven.
Recently, another such gender discrimination lawsuit, was filed against tech giant Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, accused of systematic pay disparity that resulted in women consistently being paid less than their male counterparts for the same work – even when they had more experience or more seniority at the firm than their male counterparts. In one case, plaintiff said she was asked to step into the role of a recently-deceased supervisor, for which she was promised a promotion and a raise. Yet it wasn’t until another co-worker in a different department stumbled across financial documents with the firm that she – and others – learned she received far less pay (and no change in title) for taking over her predecessor’s responsibilities. Per The Mercury News, plaintiffs are seeking class action status. Continue reading