Articles Posted in sexual discrimination

When one police officer had the courage to speak out against alleged acts of sexual harassment in her sexual harassmentprecinct, she claims she was the one who was investigated, according to a BuzzFeed News report. Her story is one that would almost be too wild to be true if we hadn’t witnessed this type of behavior in so many other institutions, businesses, and places of work. The officer said she was new to the New York Police Department when she started getting a lot of friendly attention from one of the higher ranking officers. Friendliness allegedly escalated to unwanted touching and then propositions. For five years, she claimed she endured the behavior, telling anyone in her chain of command she felt safe enough talking to, hoping for change that never came. She said she felt trapped, knowing how aggressively police officers reacted when outsiders are brought in to investigate one of their own. Eventually she cracked and sought help form the department’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, at which point she alleged a very creative form of retaliation began.

The officer said shortly after filing her complaint, she was under investigation for alleged alcohol abuse and ordered to complete a treatment program. She took this accusation to be a direct threat, considering she described her own alcohol use as minimal with only a few drinks a year and a clean record with no complaints. Fighting the accusations only seemed to get her in more trouble though, as she said she was suspended when she refused to complete the program and lost a month of pay. Meanwhile, the officer she accused of harassment was docked 10 vacation days for years of alleged abuse toward her. Continue reading

Right now, more mothers are joining the workforce than any time in history. In addition, there is a pregnancy discriminationgrowing trend of friendlier office policies geared toward families in general and mothers in particular. Why then are there still an alarming amount of cases where pregnant women report enduring discrimination and unfair treatment? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has collected a gradually increasing number of pregnancy discrimination claims over the years, and officials say the number is approaching a record high.

The New York Times delved into the issue recently and discovered an unsettling pattern of discrimination that still flows beneath the surface, even at large and reputable companies. Big names on the list include Walmart, Whole Foods, AT&T, and 21st Century Fox, all of which, as the article pointed out, have grand statements about being champions of women in their communications.

Women in all kinds of careers have anecdotes to share. Our employment attorneys know labor jobs can often have more blatant discrimination. Examples include refusals to allow pregnant women accommodations they need to complete their work, no leniency for breaks, refusal to adjust demands due to physical limitations, and series of micro-aggressions, like not allowing them to have water on the work floor. Continue reading

Not only is sexual harassment in the workplace illegal, but it also is costing a significant amount of money. Thesexual harassment influx of reports of sexual misconduct has led journalists and investigators to dig into the scope of these behaviors. What they have found is a trail of monetary payoffs and cover-ups over the years that have kept accusers silent and cost states and businesses a sizeable amount of money. California, despite having many protections, may be one of the biggest offenders.

The News Journal in Delaware recently revealed sexual misconduct payoffs over the past decade cost the state $663,000, plus the costs of litigation. Cases were filed alleging sexual harassment, misconduct, and discrimination across a variety of departments. Totals in other states varied pretty widely. Florida tallied $11 million in settlements, but that was over a 30-year period. Investigations in New York revealed at least $5 million in payouts from 2008-2010. Continue reading

In what unfortunately is an unsurprising trend, the percentage of female coaches for NCAA sports teams is decreasing, even for women’s sex discriminationteams. According to a report from KCUR, women are actually losing ground over their male counterparts in coaching positions, despite more equal rights awareness and protections than ever.

To illustrate the trend, 20 percent of softball coaches were men in 1982 at the time of the first Women’s College World Series. The eight teams who played in the championships that year were all coached by women. Today, Division I softball programs have expanded greatly, and so has the percentage of men coaching those teams, up to 35 percent.

It’s not just softball that’s affected. In 1972 more than 90 percent of all collegiate teams were coached by women. Now it’s half, according to NCAA Champion Magazine. The KCUR report showed that of Division I volleyball teams, a championship title victor has never been coached by a woman, and in women’s basketball only four of the Sweet 16 teams last year were coached by women. This isn’t even to address the obvious lack of women coaching men’s teams. Women’s sports in general have increased in respect and popularity, making coaching opportunities more appealing to men, who previously were less interested in the roles. Continue reading

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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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

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

In a climate where claims of sexual harassment are continually coming to the surface and stories of police wrongdoing are constantly in the news, it is refreshing to seesexual harassment people honored who have fought to protect their rights and maintain their values.

The Asbury Park-Neptune Chapter of NAACP in New Jersey recently honored two female members of the local police officers who twice filed lawsuits as a result of sexual harassment and race discrimination they allege was taking place in their police department, according to App. Long before the New York Times‘ Harvey Weinsten expose or the popularity of #MeToo on social media, these two women were standing up when it would have been so much easier to buckle under the pressure.

Their story begins in 2013 when the two reported repeated sexual harassment and discrimination. One of the plaintiffs claim a lewd magnet was stuck to her car and in a separate instance a crass message was place on her car, a vehicle she used to visit the local high school. She also alleges that she was repeatedly not given the resources she needed to properly serve the high school, such as active shooter training and access to a tactical vehicle, both of which were given to a male resource officer for the school. Plaintiffs allege in the lawsuit instances of inappropriate conversations about pornography and personal sex lives, and crude gestures.

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The intent of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to protect workers from employer discrimination, is alive and well as courts continue to use this more than 50-sexual orientation discriminationyear-old statute to defend citizens who are unjustly targeted by their employer for their sex, national origin, race, color, or religion. And thanks to a skydiving instructor and a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sexual orientation is becoming more recognized as a status that falls under these protections.

Sexual orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, the court recently determined in its 10-3 opinion, which mirrors a previous ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last year, according to CNN. The opinion affirms the conclusion of the 7th Circuit as well as EEOC Decision No. 0120133080  that the employee’s sex is being taken into consideration in relation to the person they are attracted to. In other words, if a male employee was attracted to a man and a female employee is attracted to that same man, punishing the male employee would be discrimination based on his sex, all other considerations remaining the same. The ruling further outlines “associational discrimination,” as a form of sex discrimination because the “employer took his or her sex into account by treating him or her differently for associating with a person of the same sex.”

This flings opens the door for others in those circuits to file lawsuits for sexual orientation discrimination. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals covers Connecticut, New York and Vermont, while the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals includes areas of Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Continue reading

After allegations of misconduct against Harvey Weinstein revealed a culture of widespread sexual harassment and assault, the film producer is finally facing concrete sexual harassmentramifications. New York Attorney General’s Office recently filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court, New York County against Weinstein Co., Harvey Weinstein, and Robert Weinstein to “remedy a years-long gender-based hostile work environment.”

The lawsuit (The People of the State of New York v. The Weinstein Company LLC, et al) comes after months of mostly symbolic punishments against the producer. He was fired from Weinstein Co. and resigned from the board in October (while continuing to profit off his 23 percent share in the company) and is said to have received sex addiction rehabilitation treatment since then.

N.Y. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman began building the case after New York Times broke the story last year detailing reports of harassment, assault, and rape allegedly taking place inside Weinstein Co. as well as payouts meant to silence accusers. In addition to claims made against Harvey Weinstein, the lawsuit targets senior managers, who stand accused of ignoring complaints and enabling continued abuse. The attorney general’s investigation included an in-depth examination of e-mails and company records, which allegedly reveal gender discrimination, hostile work environment, harassment, quid pro quo arrangements, and discrimination, according to a report from Variety. Continue reading