Articles Posted in sexual harassment

Gender discrimination and sexual harassment attorneys in California know women who work in federal prisons housing male inmates tend to go into the job expecting they will be targeted for unwanted attention from the resident populace. This isn’t to say such behavior is tolerable, but it’s the reason these workers wear over-sized uniforms, slick their hair into tight buns, do almost everything possible to hide any trace of femininity. But worse than abuse they face from the inmates, they told The New York Times and detailed in gender discrimination lawsuit depositions, is the fact their male colleagues encourage this behavior – and even participate in it. On more than one occasion, this has resulted not only in a hostile workplace, but an extremely dangerous one. Further, they allege that when these incidents are reported, they face retaliation, including blackballing and termination, the male colleagues who harass them reportedly rise in their field.sexual harassment attorney

Our Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys are aware of cases wherein female prison workers have been groped, taunted daily, subjected to incessant inmate masturbation and threatened with rape. Anytime they reported this, the women say, their supervisors downplayed it, encouraged them to “let it go.” Once when a female worker refused, she said her supervisors required her to undergo an unwanted medical exam that required her to expose her breasts in front of a colleague. In another case, a case manager was reportedly raped by an inmate. When the 24-year employee reported it, she was criminally charged with raping her attacker. She was later acquitted by a jury, but her retirement savings was depleted for her defense fund and her daughter had to drop out of college because she couldn’t afford it.

This isn’t the first time abuses of female prison employees have come to light. In 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a stunning report, indicating sexual harassment and retaliation claims were not only unusually high within the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, but also that they were routinely mishandled. And this is not a small problem, given that more than 10,000 women work within the federal prison system. Women who have lodged complaints say they have been essentially blocked from any future in the corrections system – even when their claims prevail. This is evidenced by the fact that a Congressional oversight committee last year learned that prisons were continuing to grant high-level administrators huge bonuses, even though the complaints regarding sexual harassment were pervasive, the handling of them clearly unlawful. Continue reading

Educational institutions that receive federal funding – including colleges and universities – are bound by federal mandate (specifically, Title IX) to both report incidents of sexual violence and to track patterns of sexual assault, sexual misconduct and other behaviors that may result in a hostile working or educational environment for women – which impacts not only their physical safety and mental/ emotional health, but frequently their financial status and career prospects.sexual harassment attorney Los Angeles

Yet our L.A. sexual harassment attorneys have women on campus victimized time and again – students, adjunct professors, graduate assistants, tenured professors, deans. Universities not only fail to protect them, but in some cases further victimize them with poor policy and failure to follow the law, spurring more than a few California Title IX lawsuits in recent years.

The process by which higher education institutions handle these claims has come under scrutiny as the Trump administration and the U.S. Education Department, headed by Betsy DeVos, has proposed a new set of official policy rules on sexual assault and harassment. As The New York Times reported, if the rules become law, the result will be:

  • Narrower definition of sexual harassment;
  • School accountability allowable only when alleged conduct occurs on campus and only when formal complaints are filed first through proper authorities;
  • Heightened standard for legal standard that defines whether schools acted appropriately (no longer “preponderance of the evidence in determining suspension or expulsion, but rather the evidentiary standard of the school’s choice);
  • Compelling an informal mediation resolution process.

Meanwhile, more of these claims are filed almost every day. Continue reading

In many ways, our Rancho Cucamonga employment attorneys understand we cannot address the rampant problem of sexual harassment in the workplace without also addressing retaliation. That’s because historically – and even often today – exposure of harassment, assault and other bad behavior almost always has consequences for victims and allies alike. We refer to these as “retaliation” because they are acts taken by the employer or management as “punishment” for bringing the wrongdoing to light. sexual harassment lawyer Rancho Cucamonga

This is part of what is alleged in a recent Rancho Cucamonga sexual harassment lawsuit, filed by numerous young female workers say they were targeted for gender-based harassment – and then retaliated against when they reported it. This is according to a California employment lawsuit filed by the Equal Opportunity Commission against Del Taco chain restaurant, as the Daily Bulletin reports.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the sexual harassment and retaliation claim asserts that the fast food chain broke federal law firstly when no fewer than three male workers (including at least two in supervisor positions, such as shift leader) targeted plaintiffs with sexual comments and physical touching that were both unwanted and inappropriate. These incidents occurred at a single restaurant dating back to at least 2014, and many of the female workers who suffered these episodes at work were minors at the time, according to the complaint. Continue reading

The future of California sexual harassment lawsuits hangs in the balance, as the public is closely monitoring word of Governor Jerry Brown’s decision whether to sign the controversial AB 3080. The bill would result in direct impact to workplace harassment and gender discrimination claims by impeding an employer’s ability to limit disclosure and discussion of such agreements with mandatory arbitration agreements signed as a condition of employment.

As our L.A. sexual harassment attorneys recognize, the bill if passed would amend a portion of California Labor Code (specifically adding a Section 432.4) outlawing forced arbitration agreements barring job-seekers (employees or independent contractors) from speaking out publicly or pursuing civil court remedy agL.A. sexual harassment attorneyainst employers who fail to protect them from sexual harassment or gender discrimination. (The bill doesn’t specifically use the term “arbitration agreements,” but those policies are what is targeted and would be affected.)

Some have argued that what’s in the bill is already largely covered within provisions already existing in the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which is the state’s anti-retaliation law shielding employees from retaliation if they have a reasonable belief of victimization from unlawful employment practices. Others say the bill, if passed, will be widely open to judicial challenge. In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Perry v. Thomas (and again in 2011 with AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion) that the Federal Arbitration Act requires arbitration contracts generally be on equal footing with other types of contracts and that state law can’t interfere with federal policy.  Continue reading

Another man in a position of prominence in the entertainment industry has been accused of multiple counts of sexual harassment. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer ofsexual harassment CBS Corp., Les Moonves, has been accused by six women of multiple acts of sexual misconduct and retaliation after the women spoke out, according to an investigative report in The New Yorker. Other employees also came forward describing a culture within the network that allegedly regularly protected men who were accused of sexual misdeeds while paying off their accusers.

The women described a pattern of abuses beginning in the 1980s through the past decade, all with similar notes. Several alleged Moonves touched them inappropriately or forcibly kissed them during business meetings. A couple were threatened to play nice or it would mean their careers. All reported life becoming more difficult after they rejected the executive’s advances, with his hostile behavior affecting their careers either by them getting fired or their job trajectory being derailed.

The accusations are part of the ongoing wave of the #MeToo movement, which has been crashing on the shores of American businesses over the past year. This was seen most notably with the story of Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood producer accused of a long-running pattern of sexual misconduct toward women who worked with him in the movie industry. In addition to several criminal charges filed against Weinstein, he finds himself at the bottom of a growing pile of lawsuits related to his alleged behavior. Continue reading

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

California Senate and Assembly members will soon have a new set of rules in place by which they willsexual harassment investigate sexual harassment complaints, according to Capital Public Radio. The policy was unanimously approved by the Joint Legislative Rules Committee and was based on guidelines created by Los Angeles County. It effectively replaces the two separate policies each house was operating under previously. New standards include creation of an investigative unit, whose members would collect evidence and interview witnesses in connection to all complaints, and an external panel, whose experts would make decisions based on the evidence and recommend potential consequences. The rules have seen some revisions in recent weeks, including adding the ability to report inappropriate behavior by third parties and lobbyists who regularly interact with government workers. This would be in addition to legislative employees and lawmakers already protected by and accountable to the policy. Furthermore, a majority of the outside panel experts will be appointed by chief justice of the California Supreme Court. The panel will act separately from legislative counsel, allowing for neutral recommendations.

Before we can truly trust lawmakers to hold others accountable, they must show themselves to be trustworthy enough to hold themselves accountable. This is as true as ever in the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. The past year has been eye opening in regards to the amount of sexual harassment that is taking place in work places across the country, including government offices. Roughly 150 women working for the state signed an open letter in October 2017 describing a culture of harassment and abuse in California politics. Three lawmakers in the state have stepped down due to accusations since then. Even more shocking are how many reports are being swept under the rug. That’s why we are seeing new policies cropping up all over the place.  Continue reading

As any good sexual harassment attorney knows, one of the biggest deterrents to victims coming forward withsexual harassment their stories is fear of retaliation and the effects it can have on their careers and well-beings. This issue is compounded infinitely for immigrant families, who not only fear risking their careers, but their entire way of life, their homes, the potential of deportation, and possible separation from their families. Even those who are in the process of becoming a legal citizen are fearful causing waves could put their citizenship in jeopardy. Sexual harassment, discrimination, and assault in the workplace is scary enough, but these personal ramifications add an exclamation point to the end of an already very frightening sentence.

The fear of deportation, even for those who are following all the rules and are actively seeking citizenship, has increased significantly recently with the current administration making a very public example of non-Americans. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in recent months invoked a “no tolerance” policy when it comes to people crossing the border from Mexico, offering little room to differentiate between asylum seekers and those committing violent crimes or trafficking drugs. This has created an environment where those already in the country tend to lay low, keep quiet, and hold their breaths to see what happens next.

Continue reading

In light of increased awareness of sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace, investigations and policysexual harassment revisions are happening all over the country. One congresswoman is sounding the alarm in the Department of Veterans Affairs in particular after survey numbers showed reports of sexual harassment there were higher than average across departments in the federal government. Of female respondents, 26 percent said they had experienced sexual harassment, and 14 percent of male respondents between 2014 and 2016, according to a report from Stars and Stripes. In fact, VA respondents reported the highest rates of sexual harassment, with Department of Homeland Security coming in second. This compares to 21 percent of women and 9 percent of men across federal departments as a whole. The survey collected data on a variety of behaviors, ranging from teasing to stalking and sexual assault. Gender harassment led the survey in reported incidents, with unwanted sexual attention and sexual coercion following behind.

Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH), ranking Democrat on the Veterans’s Affairs subcommittee on oversight and investigations, has called on the chairman of the subcommittee to hold a congressional oversight hearing on the matter. Her response came on the heels of findings being released by the Merit Systems Protection Board, an independent group that is housed within the executive branch whose mission is to protect the rights of government workers.  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