Articles Posted in sexual harassment

Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg recently vowed to release former female employees from the non-disclosure agreements they signed in connection with their sexual harassment lawsuit settlements at his namesake company. The announcement came just days after Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren slammed Bloomberg over the agreements during the Democratic presidential debates in Las Vegas. Bloomberg said in a statement he had identified three non-disclosure agreements that were signed in resolution of complaints against statements he personally had made to his female employees. Those settlements were reached over 30 years ago. sexual harassment lawyer

Debate moderators had raised the question of Bloomberg’s past remarks about women, to which the billionaire responded that he would not tolerate the kind of behavior that #MeToo exposed. That’s when Warren made a point to underscore the non-disclosure agreements. Bloomberg downplayed both the number of non-disclosure agreements in which he was involved and the nature of what was alleged, characterizing the allegations as “maybe they didn’t like a joke I told.”

Bloomberg is far from the only person to come under fire for non-disclosure agreements in sexual harassment cases. Numerous women reportedly harassed and/or assaulted by Harvey Weinstein were compelled to sign non-disclosure agreements in order to settle their cases against him. The same was reportedly done in cases involving USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. Continue Reading ›

As of this month, all state departments in California are required to track all claims of sexual harassment. Now, they will be able to do so using a single streamlined system managed by the California Department of Human Resources.Los Angeles employment lawyer

The system was proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2018 following an investigation by The Sacramento Bee revealing the state spent $25 million over the course of three years to settle sexual harassment lawsuits against state employees. In many cases, offenders kept their jobs, despite repeated complaints and even as victims were forced to resign and be subject to no rehire clauses if they settled their civil cases. (No rehire clauses are now outlawed thanks to the passage of AB 749 last fall.)

The data tracker went live on Jan. 1, 2020 and cost $1.5 million to launch. Before this, the state had no uniform way of tracking allegations of sexual harassment across its 150+ departments. Continue Reading ›

In what is believed to be the highest damage award ever in a California employment lawsuit, a billionaire defendant/Hollywood executive/hologram entrepreneur/heir to Coca-Cola to pay a former employee $50 million in damages after jurors found him liable for battery, sexual battery and sexual harassment.Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer

The ruling is the third verdict this year in which the defendant, Alki David, has been accused of repeated acts of sexual harassment and sexual violence against former employees. Two other cases are pending.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the latest verdict brings the total amount of compensation David must pay to previous employees to $74 million. In the most recent case, plaintiff was a production assistant who worked for defendant. He reportedly thrust his pelvis into her face, simulated oral sex, moaned and then zipped up his pants before thanking her as he walked away. Continue Reading ›

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reveals that sexual harassment, verbal abuse and gender discrimination are the catalysts mostly responsible for the high rates of burnout among female doctors.doctor gender discrimination

Physicians in general have high rates of burnout, defined just this year by the World Health Organization as a condition characterized by cynicism, emotional exhaustion, physical fatigue and reduced productivity resulting from unmanaged job-related stress. What this new study suggests is the problem is even greater for doctors who are women, and surgical residents in particular.

Another recent survey conducted by physician staffing firm Merritt Hawkins showed that more than three-quarters of female physicians responded in the affirmative when asked whether they had experienced gender-based discrimination in the workplace. Continue Reading ›

Little more than one week after McDonald’s Corp. fired its chief executive officer for reportedly having a romantic relationship with a subordinate, a former employee is suing the fast food chain, alleging sexual assault by a manager is part of a larger culture of sexual harassment in the company. The former CEO could get a payout of an estimated $70 million. Orange County sexual harassment lawyer

The class action sexual harassment lawsuit filed in a Michigan state court as hundreds of workers for the company in that state prepared to strike in protest of the company’s handling of such claims. Workers for the firm are demanding the protection of a labor union. The company is facing more than 50 complaints from employees and former employees who allege the work environment at the restaurant chain is sexually hostile.

In the recent Michigan lawsuit, The New York Times reports plaintiff was subjected to sexual harassment and sexual assault repeatedly over the course of two years working for the company. The manager allegedly groped her, called her by offensive names and once placed his genitals in her hand while they worked beside one another in the kitchen. These incidents, she says, were a daily occurrence, and she was in constant fear of losing her job. She reportedly filed numerous complaints with her general managers, but the complaints were ignored, she said. Continue Reading ›

A state-mandated project to track sexual harassment and gender discrimination in California government is slated to start in January 2020 – finally. Our Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers know that not only will that make it a year late, but also long overdue. sexual harassment lawyer

The $1.5 million project was supposed to have already been underway this year, making 2019 the first year officials would have data on what we know to be a pervasive problem.

Under the previous state administration, the project was outlined as a meaningful first step toward addressing allegations of government-employee harassment and discrimination based on gender. The initiative was spurred in the midst of the #MeToo movement – at a time when more than 140 women working for the state government signed an open letter detailing their experiences with workplace sexual harassment.

Those included:

  • A California State Corrections Officer who, along with numerous other female corrections officers, were ignored when reporting constant indecent exposure and sexual harassment at work. When the CO wrote up an inmate for indecent exposure one week, nothing was done and she was brutally attacked by that same inmate while working without her partner one day. Officers later found numerous drawings of the C.O. in sexually explicit and violent poses in the inmate’ cell.
  • A state Highway Patrol field officer sexually harassed for months by another officer while supervisors did nothing to respond.
  • A state pollution control employee raped by a supervisor.

They are among 10 sexual harassment plaintiffs to whom The Sacramento Bee reported the state had paid some $25 million over the course of three years just to settle claims. Continue Reading ›

Last year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission secured the first budget increase nearly a decade, with $16 million allocated by Congress to allow the agency more resources to focus on claims of workplace sexual harassment. California sexual harassment attorneys in Orange County recognize this is at least partially the reason the agency is now reporting an uptick in sexual harassment claims in the last year. sexual harassment lawyer

Preliminary statistics as of October 2019 indicate claims of job-related sexual harassment and gender discrimination rose sharply last fiscal year, which ended in September.

There is more to it, though. The #MeToo movement that has swept the country in recent years amid revelations of numerous, high-profile executives, politicians, celebrities and media members were repeatedly accused of patterns of sexual harassment and abuse. The fact that several corporations were found to be complicit in concealing such occurrences revealed the obstacles accusers faced for many years. So it’s not that we’re seeing an increase in people being sexually harassed at work, but rather improved awareness, earlier reporting and more thorough investigations.

By the Numbers: EEOC Reports Uptick in Sexual Harassment Claims

Continue Reading ›

A bill that would have expanded California sexual harassment training for janitorial companies and their uniquely vulnerable workers was vetoed by the governor, who urged sponsoring lawmakers to give the state and employers more time to fully implement the 2016 janitorial worker sexual harassment legislation, which is still getting off the ground.Los Angeles sexual harassment

Approval of AB 2079 would have meant that required janitorial firms provide sexual harassment training for supervisors and employees that would extend far beyond watching a boiler-plate video and signing a form. They’d hear from actual survivors of sexual abuse and sexual harassment in the California janitorial industry. They would also be given encouragement and more information on their legal options to hold abusers and workplaces accountable.

Although some of the most highly-publicized accounts of sexual assault and sexual harassment spurred the #metoo and #TimesUp began have been told by employers in elite industries (proving sexual harassment and abuse are pervasive everywhere), Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys and other worker advocates know janitorial workers, agricultural employees, home health care and hospitality workers are at high risk. The primary risk factor is power disparity between victim and abuser. Women, those earning low wages, people of color, immigrants – all of these individuals start off at higher risk. Immigrants especially can face language and cultural barriers that can lead to fear of deportation, cultural barriers and a misunderstanding of their rights and what will happen if these offenses are reported. Now factor in the isolation, overnight shifts and lack of regulatory oversight that are so integral to the industry, and it’s not hard to see why these employees are at such high risk for abuse. Continue Reading ›

Workers who’ve suffered California sexual harassment will now have a number of new state-level protections in place as of next year, including:

  • An end to employer-imposed secrecy and non-disclosure agreements that silence victims and protect abusers (victims may still choose to keep their own identify protected);
  • An attempt to end the so-called “one free grope” standard confirmed by the 9th Circuit federal court 18 years ago (stemming from the “severe or pervasive” legal standard set forth in California’s sexual harassment statute);
  • Mandated sexual harassment training increased to twice annually for all California employees.Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney

Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys have been watching these efforts move down the legislative pipeline (along with a few others, including the highly-controversial AB 3080, which would have banned mandatory arbitration agreements as a condition of employment, which failed when voted by Gov. Jerry Brown). The good news the passage of these new measures at least provide a solid foundation for harassed, abused and exploited workers to have adequate means of protection and reprisal.

Each measure goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Continue Reading ›

A bill that would have outlawed California mandatory workplace arbitration agreements was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown, who signed a number of #metoo -inspired laws but soundly rejected this one. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego,  AB 3080 would have barred companies from mandating employees sign arbitration agreements – forgoing their right to judicial remedy in the event of a dispute – as a required condition of employment. Riverside sexual harassment lawyers at The Nassiri Law Group were skeptical of the bill’s chances, particularly given that Brown had vetoed a similar measure three years ago. California employer arbitration lawyer

Although supporters of the measure aren’t wrong in noting that forced workplace arbitration agreements effectively silence workers who are legitimately victimized while shielding harassers and abusers, the unfortunate reality is that both the California Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court have time and again ruled that employers can lawfully require employees to sign arbitration agreements in which they waive the right to take a claim for sexual harassment or other employee rights issue before a judge and jury.

The U.S. Supreme Court Bolstered Employer Protections Precluding AB 3080

One of the most recent of those cases weighed by the U.S. Supreme Court was Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, decided in May. The court was asked to interpret two federal laws – the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 and the Federal Arbitration Act in 1925. Specifically, the latter contains a provision stating that any contract (employment or otherwise) that contains a provision requiring arbitration instead of litigation to resolve disputes is to be considered valid and enforceable unless there are legal or equity grounds on which to deem the contract invalid. The NLRA meanwhile allows workers the right to self-organize, form, join or assist in organized labor and to engage in collective bargaining.

So the question was whether a no-group arbitration clause, in violating portions of the NLRA, provides for legal grounds to prohibit employer-imposed mandatory arbitration agreements.  Continue Reading ›

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