Articles Posted in sexual harrassment

A California hotel housekeeper is suing her former employer, alleging Irvine sexual harassment that went unchecked for years, culminating in attack by a drunk male guest while she cleaned a bathroom in the lobby. Bloomberg reported that as he grabbed her, the man allegedly offered her $50. When she reported the attack to supervisors immediately after, he allegedly laughed and cracked a joke, saying the guest should have offered her $100. Irvine sexual harassment attorneys know that such a crude response not only shocks the conscience, it will be used as evidence the employer failed to protect this worker – allegedly for years.Irvine sexual harassment attorney

At the time, plaintiff had worked at that hotel location for some 18 years, according to Bloomberg. During that time, she alleges male customers frequently urinated in front of her and made inappropriate comments or advances. It was a regular occurrence, she would later indicate in her sexual harassment lawsuit, for all the female housekeepers, one she and her co-workers had been complaining about for years. Most recently, she’d asked her bosses repeatedly for a sign that would block guests from entering bathrooms while she cleaned. She was eventually given an 8×10 sign to stick on the door, though it didn’t block customers from entering. (The hotel reportedly did have signs that blocked guests from entering these areas in the past, but allegedly discontinued because they were “old-fashioned.”)

It was around this time the sexual assault occurred. Plaintiff said her employer did nothing in response – there was no investigation and no additional protection provided. She’s now suing for Irvine sexual harassment, seeking injunctive relief and unspecified damages.  Continue reading

California sexual harassment claimants can now make allegations, undeterred by the prospect of being hit back with a defamation lawsuit that turns the tables and the proof burden back on them. The change, formally in effect as of Jan. 1, 2019, came after state lawmakers last year heard testimony from experts who were clear in showing how such defamation laws had been used for decades to protect harassers. As Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys can explain, the long-existing law gives those who claim to be falsely accused and suffering damage to reputation as a result to pursue litigation for false and unprivileged statements – written or oral – made about them by either former co-workers or their previous employer. Basically if the sexual harassment was not unequivocally proven, the person who made the allegation or the former employer could be responsible to pay damages for defamation. Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney

In order to sidestep this outcome, the new law, AB 2770, considers such communications – specifically regarding sexual harassment – to be “privileged.” Some types of communication was already considered privileged under the law, such as that of a former employer to a prospective employer regarding job qualifications and performance of an applicant for a job. The new measure simply extends that scope now to also encompass statements pertaining to employees in California accused of sexual harassment. Specifically, it protects what former employers can say about whether they would rehire an applicant on the basis of the company’s determination of sexual harassment alleged to have been committed by the worker.

The law also contains a special portion that elevates communications and complaints about sexual harassment made from other employees to the employer to the level of “privileged.”  Continue reading

New laws effective in 2019 will impact how courts in California weigh claims of sexual harassment, and how employers in the state address and take action. A Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney will be able to help you gain a better handle on the changes to these processes and what it might mean for new claims against individuals and employers. Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer

Five new advisory principles are now included in the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), effectively meaning employers are going to face more possibility of liability for discrimination. It’s not that the laws were intended to drum up more possibility of litigation, but rather that they would improve working conditions for women and others vulnerable to sexual harassment on the job or at school.

The specific effect will be that if these five principles are applied by California courts, there will be less likelihood that those claiming to be victims of sexual harassment will have their claims dismissed prior to trial. As Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys can explain, they will still have the responsibility to prove the harassment was severe or pervasive. However, these new rules will also lessen that burden.  Continue reading

When news broke in 2014 that the much-beloved ’90s sitcom “Friends” would be re-released in its entirety on Netflix, fans were ecstatic. However, when they started actually watching those 10 seasons, many were struck by how unfriendly many of the story arcs and punchlines were to minorities, homosexuals and women. But perhaps what was most striking for many people was the fact that so much of America could be so blind to those undertones. This same sort of realization is apparent when we wonder why it was that so many prior to the #MeToo movement tolerate toxic workplaces for so long. Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys know we need look no further than that same set, where a former writers’ assistant filed a sexual and racial harassment claims. Warner Bros. fought back hard in Lyle v. Warner Bros. Television et al., ultimately backed by Hollywood’s top brass in an amicus brief filed with the California Supreme Court.Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers

What was especially interesting about this case was the fact that defendants actually didn’t deny much of what plaintiff alleged: Sexually coarse, vulgar and demeaning language, “off-color banter,” and even masturbatory gestures and doodles. All of this, however, they claimed was not impropriety and definitely not harassment. It was, rather, a necessary part of the creative writing process. In the amicus brief, filmmakers and executives argued that to decide the case in plaintiff’s favor would have had a chilling effect on free speech, and that writers needed to be free to share their darkest and most private thoughts without fearing legal reprisal.

In 2006, the California Supreme Court didn’t just dismiss plaintiff’s case; justices unanimously agreed with the argument of “creative necessity.” That is, those in creative careers have the right to demean women, even pretending to masturbate (so long as it wasn’t aimed at someone particular), and that individuals who choose to work on a creative team “should not be allowed to complain that some of the creativity was offensive.” Continue reading

A number of lobbyists, lawyers and staffers of the California Capitol urged state legislators to make changes in the way the state Assembly keeps track of and handles claims of sexual harassment. At the present time, it’s alleged the procedures are confusing, arbitrarily enforced and often result in worse outcomes for victims as opposed to those are carrying out the abuse.sexual harassment lawyer

Calls for this action were heard during a five-hour committee meeting, which was the first in either of the state’s legislative bodies to weigh the existing internal policies for sexual harassment misconduct. Although the decisions won’t necessarily have a direct impact on private sector workers, policies and procedures with the Capitol are often viewed as a model and a standard. Other companies will carefully look at how the legislators govern themselves when drafting their own sexual harassment policies.

Although our sexual harassment lawyers in Riverside have been on the forefront of this issue for years, it’s one that has gained enormous traction this year, one that has brought decades-old allegations to light and brought down extremely powerful men, from media moguls to Hollywood producers to politicians. Although it’s been a shock to our collective conscious to see the many millions of people (women in particular) in California, the U.S. and throughout the world joint the #MeToo movement, many women and those who have been fighting for their rights know the prevalence wasn’t all that shocking. It seems almost every woman, if not at some point personally a victim of sexual harassment, has seen it happen or knows someone who was targeted.  Continue reading

In an effort to ensure enforcement of zero tolerance policies when it comes to sexual harassment in California state senate offices, lawmakers have announced steps will be taken to hire outside attorneys for any investigations that involve abuse of or by staff or legislators. As reported by The Los Angeles Times, this breaks a long-standing practice of internally investigating sexual harassment complaints. sexual harassment

It’s also reflective of the national tone with regard to sexual harassment incidents, after the fallout with Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein sparked the #MeToo movement across social media and in numerous rallies and marches. Recently, hundreds marched in Hollywood against sexual harassment, as people from all different professions have come forward to demand accountability for those who commit sexual harassment and the institutions that protect them.

The decision to revise the sexual harassment investigation policies within the California Senate was unveiled hours after there were allegations of inappropriate behavior against Tony Mendoza, a Democrat from Artesia. Two capital staffers have accused him of misconduct. One allegation was made by a 19-year-old intern, who alleged Mendoza invited her to his hotel room to drink alcohol, despite her being underage. Another allegation was made by a 19-year-old Senate fellow. Three former aides were reportedly fired after making complaints about the interactions with the young woman. Senate officials have denied there is any connection between those terminations and the sexual harassment complaints.  Continue reading

When Title VII passed in 1964, it banned gender discrimination at work. However, it wasn’t until 1975 that activists at Cornell University coined the phrase, “sexual harassment.” And still, it wasn’t until around the early 1990s, when law professor Anita Hill accused Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas of sexually harassing her when they worked together. That didn’t stop Thomas’ nomination from being confirmed, but that same year, the Civil Rights Act was amended to allow victims in those cases to seek both compensatory and punitive damages. The number of sexual harassment cases skyrocketed. tv

Twenty-six years later, allegations of sexual harassment brought down one of the most powerful men in cable news – Bill O’Reilly. Of course, it took years and numerous allegations from many women.

But even before then, in late 2016, Anita Hill spoke out to CBS News, in response to the infamous Access Hollywood Trump tape, Hill said women have been saying for decades that sexual harassment is real and it is a problem. The revelation didn’t stop Trump from being elected. However, the incident did spur a national discussion. Then there was Roger Ailes, the former Fox chairman who was ousted amid numerous allegations of sexual harassment from high-profile female anchors and staffers. When the latest allegation arose against Bill O’Reilly, advocates say it brought sexual harassment “to the tipping point of public attention.” Continue reading

Plaintiff in a newly-filed federal lawsuit alleges the nursing home for which she worked failed to protect her from sexual assault by a manager with a known history of sexual harassment. nurses

The Denver Post reports her former employer in Colorado hired her  boss/ attacker in 2014, after he had just been fired from his last job at a Minnesota hospital amid allegations of sexual harassment. Despite knowing this history, plaintiff said when she reported the two instances of sexual assault, administrators responded by falsely accusing her of stealing narcotic medications and terminating her.

She is now seeking compensation for lost wages, punitive and compensatory damages and attorney’s fees. Defendant in the case is a company that owns more than two dozen nursing homes in three states. Although the company purports to value cultivating and maintaining a safe space for residents and staffers, that was not what plaintiff experienced.  Continue reading

Fox News announced it settled with former Anchor Gretchen Carlson – and a “handful” of other women – each of whom had filed lawsuits alleging former CEO Roger Ailes had sexually harassed them. Carlson alone received a $20 million payout.tvstudio

The station’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, owned by Rupert Murdoch and his sons, was the one that paid the settlement. Employment law experts know that the size of Carlson’s compensation is among the largest-known settlements issued for a single plaintiff in a sexual harassment lawsuit. We say “known” because many of these settlement agreements are confidential. In fact, at least two other women who were part of the sexual harassment investigation settled too, wishing to remain anonymous. Still, Ailes himself received a $40 million payout when he exited the company. He will not have to pay any of the $20 million settlement to Carlson or the other women, despite the fact that the lawsuits were originally against him personally.

Also rather unusual: 21st Century Fox issued an apology – a public one at that – to Carlson. She had filed the lawsuit over the summer, alleging Ailes removed her from the popular show and slashed her pay when she refused to have a sexual relationship with him. The apology statement conceded that Carlson was not treated with the respect and dignity she was owed.  Continue reading

Amid allegations of sexual harassment, Fox News is reportedly ousting 76-year-old CEO Roger Ailes.womanportrait

An internal investigation was launched after former Fox & Friends host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes. That expanded into a wide-ranging inquiry over Ailes’ often controversial management style. Other allegations of sexual harassment have been made as well.

Meanwhile, Ailes has moved to remove the lawsuit, Carlson v. Ailes, to arbitration.  Continue reading