Articles Posted in sexual discrimination

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

Sexual harassment in the workplace is nothing new. However, laws have evolved over the last several decades to include many more protections and legal causes of actions for victims. Unfortunately, it still happens, and remains a very serious problem, as we’ve seen with several high-profile accusations made against famous power players like Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly.  Even our own president has been accused of such conduct. But it’s not isolated to the seedier side of show business or within wealthy circles.

Employment LawyerAccording to a recent news article from The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix has just settled a claim levied by an executive involving allegations of sexual harassment at the workplace.  The employee who filed the lawsuit was formerly the director of human resources. According to his complaint, he said that during the months he worked at the company, he was regularly the target of sexual harassment and said the company has an unwritten policy of targeting such harassment and employment discrimination.  Continue reading

A little more than a year ago, employees at San Diego P.F. Chang’s location won a roughly $1 million verdict in a sexual harassment lawsuit.  According to a recent news feature from the Los Angeles Times, the same defendant is alleged to have engaged in additional incidents of sexual harassment at various other Southern California locations.

highkeyupcloseThis first case that ended in 2014 involved two plaintiffs. Now, there are four women claiming they were repeatedly made to be victims of sexual harassment in Anaheim, Beverly Hills, Riverside, and Chino Hills.  Their contracts required employees to use a binding arbitration process as opposed to filing a complaint in a civil court. There is also another alleged victim, but her case is somewhat different, because she was only 16 years of age at the time of the alleged harassment. Continue reading

California laws provide protection from employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is defined to include homosexuality, heterosexuality, and bisexuality. California law also prohibits discrimination on the basis of both gender and gender expression, which includes gender-related behaviors regardless of whether the behaviors are associate with the gender that someone has been assigned at birth. rainbow-flag-1144037

While California laws prohibit employers from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, the federal government has not yet passed a law explicitly barring discrimination against people on the basis of homosexuality or sexual identity. Courts and administrative agencies, however, have continually expanded the protections available under federal law with the goal of ensuring that no one is deprived of opportunities on the basis of their LTBTQ status.

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A high-profile gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit is underway in Silicon Valley, with one of the area’s oldest venture capital firms in the center of the storm. technology

In her complaint, Ellen Pao claims she was subjected to five years of retaliation after she refused sexual advances from several of the senior partners at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. As a former partner of the firm, she stated she and other female workers were discriminated against when it came to matters of pay and promotions. She also said she was pressured into having an affair with a senior executive, and after she ended it, the discrimination began – and continued for the better part of five years. She is seeking $16 million in compensation for back pay, future wage losses and other damages as a result of the alleged discriminatory conduct.

The case is being closely watched as it has underscored longstanding issues of sexual inequality in the field of technology. As a result, many technological firms have started releasing diversity data regarding their workforces, and have vowed to make improvements with regard to racial and gender balances.

Discrimination and retaliation can impact lower-rung employees as well as high-paid executives. A recent case demonstrates that even employees at the upper end of the pay scale can suffer because of discrimination in the workplace.

According to Reuters, a former partner  filed a discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against a Silicon Valley venture firm. The case is unique because the partner waited five years before filing her claim.

In June of 2007, the partner informed the firm she would resign due to job dissatisfaction. Court records indicate that the resignation came seven months after she ended an affair with another partner. According to the complaint, the plaintiff suffered from discrimination and retaliation from the partner after she called off the relationship. The venture firm has denied the allegations of discrimination and retaliation and challenges the assertion that it did not take proper steps to prevent or put an end to the misconduct.

State and federal legislators commonly intervene to protect the rights of employees. While managers and business owners are required to stay abreast of sexual harassment training, it appears that California lawmakers are not. Despite the ongoing threat of sexual harassment in the workplace, and the repeated number of sexual harassment claims in state and federal politics, members of Congress are still not required to undergo sexual harassment training. According to an investigation by California radio station KPCC, House members, unlike most people who are in positions of power, are not required to undergo sexual harassment training.

uscapitolThe loophole opens the floodgate for not only, sexual harassment claims, but the potential for liability. One California lawmaker sees the lack of sexual harassment training for House members as an embarrassment and is trying to change the rules to protect staffers. Political figures, including members of Congress, are not strangers to sexual harassment charges. According to reports, more than a dozen women have filed complaints regarding the conduct of Bob Finer, former Congressman from San Diego. The representative retired from Congress in 2012 and won his race for San Diego mayor. Despite this political success, he faced numerous accusations of sexual harassment, alleging that he repeated touched, grabbed, and groped women while serving in Congress. Following the allegations, the San Diego mayor resigned and pleaded guilty to battery and false imprisonment.

This is one of many stories coming out of Congress related to sexual harassment. To initiate change on behalf of citizens and staffers, San Mateo Congresswoman spearheaded a bill to fund $500,000 of sexual harassment training for Congress members. Despite the initiative, the money was swiped from the compromise bill. Now she is seeking the House Rules Committee to take action to prevent future instances of employment law violations and abuse. Though training is mandatory for employees and managers throughout California, Congress members have not been held to the same standards. For those in favor of the bill, stopping sexual harassment could mean a step as easy as mandatory sexual harassment training.

A Seattle soccer team owner has been sued for sexual harassment and members of the team have questioned whether he was properly screened and background checked. Twenty-two players quit the Seattle Impact FC team after only one season game. Players stood alongside the dance team known as “Ladies with Impact,” who also resigned to protest the assault of two dancers. According to reports, the coach, also a former college soccer player, had a history of sexual assault and misconduct in his two-decade career as a high-school coach. In addition to lawsuits filed against the coach, questions remain if other entities are liable for failure to background check the owner.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas CowboysAccording to the Seattle Times, the coach had fired his staff and other office workers who were embittered by his management style. He accused the women who filed the lawsuit of being ‘dirt poor’ and trying to extort money through litigation. A 22-year-old dancer filed the lawsuit after the coach allegedly asked her to come over to his home. She accuses him of an assault that occurred during this encounter. The dancer was not only concerned about the professional complications of the assault, but has also been forced into counseling and takes medication to manage the stress associated with the event.

The coach has not been criminally charged for the offense, but the local law enforcement authorities are investigating. Members of the team, the association, and local fans have continued to protest his ongoing presence as the owner and coach of the team. The case has also raised questions about whether the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) went through a proper screening process to vet the coach. The newly formed professional circuit has boasted top indoor talent, but has had other legal problems related to sexual harassment. Reports indicate that another coach of a team in Texas was sued in 2010 by a female intern at his New York consulting firm. According to the complaint, the coach sent inappropriate emails, texts and notes. The case was settled out of court for $50,000.