Articles Posted in Uncategorized

It’s fairly well-accepted that pretty people have an edge – greater popularity, higher grades, more job opportunities, more positive reviews, higher salaries – they’re even punished less harshly by the criminal justice system for the same crimes as people generally deemed less attractive. Some could make a fair case that, despite the designation being broadly subjective, pretty is a privilege. fired for being pretty

Yet, is it possible for people – women in particular – to face workplace discrimination because they are pretty? And is that something you could sue for?

Beauty Isn’t a Protected Class, But Female Is

The answer is that while there have been cases where female plaintiffs alleged their good looks gave them a distinct disadvantage at work. In fact, a new study recently published in the journal Sex Roles reveals attractive women may be wrongly perceived as untrustworthy and liars.

In what we label the “femme fatale” effect, we proposed and found support for the notion that attractive female employee may be unfairly judged by what researchers called the “femme fatal” stereotype of one who is beautiful but also manipulative. Rooted primarily in insecurity of the person who is prejudiced, it can have adverse impact on a woman’s career – within insult added to injury that few believe this is an actual detriment.

But whether that rises to the level of legal workplace discrimination is going to depend. Continue reading

When a warehouse in Illinois employing some 600 workers was bought out by a giant retailer, employees were informed they would get raises and a sizable boost in benefits. Instead, some 200 of them – all African Americans, all with criminal histories  – were fired. Now, many are alleging racial discrimination by their new employer. racial discrimination

Some of these individuals had worked years at the facility, their felony backgrounds not having been an issue previously. They are suing for racial discrimination in employment.

Many of those with felony convictions are confused about their employment rights. Some applicants and employees assume that such action is allowed and part of their “punishment.” Although it is true that some adverse treatment against applicants in hiring or in reorganization. What is not lawful, per Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is disparate treatment or impact to individuals in a protected class using the felony conviction as a vehicle.

Workers at Amazon fulfillment centers across the country – including right here in San Bernardino, CA – allege they were victims of pregnancy discrimination by their employer.pregnancy discrimination

As reported by CNet.com, one worker said she was fired just two months after she reported her pregnancy to her bosses, who in the interim complained about her increased bathroom breaks and slowed pace over the course of subsequent 10-hour shifts.

Our pregnancy discrimination attorneys in San Bernardino have learned approximately half-a-dozen women are suing the technology giant, claiming pregnancy discrimination. Continue reading

The Los Angeles Police Department was one of the first in the nation actively hiring LGBT law enforcement officers in the late 90s. Yet a recent report by USA Today detailed the ways in which law enforcement officers in California who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender were allegedly discriminated against for their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Los Angeles LGBT employment discrimination attorney

In one case, plaintiff, a gay black man, said his fellow officers at the state highway patrol said that not only was the harassment demeaning (tying hangers in the shape of penises around the area of his locker, lobbing homophobic slurs at him, carving his name off an award plaque), it put his life at risk. When he called for backup during tense vehicle impoundments, high-speed stolen car pursuits or investigations into hit-and-run accidents, his fellow officers wouldn’t even respond. This led to a workplace environment that was not only hostile, but dangerous. And it’s been going on for years. Even as a cadet at the state highway patrol, a fellow cadet put a gun to his head, saying he knew he was a homosexual and threatening to pull the trigger.

Plaintiff filed one complaint after another internally. Supervisors, he alleges, did nothing. So three years ago, he sued the California State Highway Patrol for LGBT workplace discrimination. He cited 20 years of  discrimination and harassment. His was one in a wave of lawsuits asserting anti-gay discrimination by law enforcement agents. Many of them describe workplace environments that were abusive and hostile. Some said they were subjected cruel taunts – on top of limitations on career opportunities. Their work standards were starkly different compared to other officers. They were passed over for key promotions. They were denied protection on-the-job. All of it, our LGBT discrimination attorneys understand, came down to their sexual orientation.  Continue reading

California employees are entitled to broad anti-discrimination protection under state law. Employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees on the basis of gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, ethnicity or nationality. However, it often surprises people to know there are some instances in which certain California employers can legally discriminate against some employees for certain reasons. As a Los Angeles disability discrimination attorney can explain, one type of employer most commonly cited are religious organizations; more specifically, religious schools. There are more than 40 Catholic schools from pre-K through high school just in Los Angeles alone, plus 11 Catholic colleges in the state of California.  Private schools that accept federal funds (as many do) are required to abide by federal anti-discrimination laws (which, it should be noted, aren’t as stringent as state laws). What’s more, religious schools may be entitled to some exceptions. employment discrimination

Teacher Wins Bid to Sue School For Disability Discrimination in Los Angeles

Recently in Los Angeles, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled a fifth-grade teacher alleging she was fired for taking time off for breast cancer treatment may proceed with her wrongful termination lawsuit, reversing the trial court’s summary judgment last year favoring the school. Plaintiff was hired in 2013 as a full-time teacher. Prior to the school year, plaintiff signed an employment agreement. Although it didn’t require that she be Catholic, it did mandate that teachers model, teach and promote conformity in behavior to the teachings of the church, including leading the students in prayer each day and attend Mass with students once monthly (primarily acting as a babysitter). She had received one positive review, a few weeks after which she learned she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer. This information was shared the following week with the school, indicating she’d need time off starting in late May for cancer treatments. Just a week before she was scheduled to be on leave for treatments was the school’s deadline for informing teachers if their contract was being renewed for the next school year. Plaintiff’s contract was not. Reasons given: She wasn’t strict enough with students and further that it “wouldn’t be fair to the students to have two teachers during the next school year” (as she’d be off the first part of the year continuing cancer treatments). The supervisor later conceded it would not have been a burden to the school because it was done routinely for female teachers on maternity leave.

Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court issued a ruling with far-reaching impact to so-called “gig” employers, like Uber and Lyft. These and others with similar employment structures had argued that their drivers were NOT employees, but rather independent contractors. This ruling was a blow to these companies because when workers are classified as employees, they are entitled to receive benefits like minimum wage, regular breaks, overtime pay, protection from sexual harassment and workers’ compensation for injuries. Of course, all this cost the companies money, something they’d been desperately hoping to avoid.employment attorney

Now, according to Bloomberg, these companies are quietly lobbying Democrats in California, seeking a legislative means of overriding the state supreme court’s ruling in April. They’ve been pleading their case to members of the current governor’s cabinet, as well as with his presumed successor and members of the state legislature. They are hoping to either dull the impact of the court’s ruling (with executive action or through passage of a new law) or else scrap it entirely.

Our employee misclassification attorneys in Orange County recognize that such a move could have serious legal implications not only here in California, but potentially echoing throughout the country, as this is an issue with which many states are grappling.  The whole idea of the “gig economy,” which thrives on newer technology such as smartphone apps and constant internet connectivity, is one in which the laws are only now catching up and adapting to these newer features.  Continue reading

Two years after an initial complaint alleging age discrimination, a state records office has agreed to settle with a former applicant for $60,000. Plaintiff alleged the records office in Pennsylvania refused to hire him because he was 55 when he sought an appeals officer position. age discrimination lawyer

The complaint was filed with assistance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), after the attorney, formerly employed by the Human Relations Commission for nearly two decades, sought a spot with the state records division.

In the midst of the interview, the director openly expressed concern that plaintiff would soon be retiring. A woman who had just turned 40 was later hired for the post, according to PennLive.comContinue reading

A woman once employed by Tiffany & Co. alleges the jewelry maker forced her out of work after she underwent surgery to remove her ovaries and breasts to avoid cancer.womenworking

Plaintiff filed a federal lawsuit asserting the company, based in New York, discriminated against her based on her age and gender after she had the surgeries, which her attorney described as “life-saving.” Prior to the surgery, plaintiff learned she carried a genetic mutation that put her at high risk of developing these specific type of cancers, according to BusinessofFashion.com. You may recall two years ago, Actress Angelina Jolie revealed she had surgery to remove both breasts and her ovaries after discovering she had this same BRCA1 gene. Jolie’s mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, died of ovarian cancer at age 56, while her grandmother died of it at age 45 and her mother’s sister died of the disease at the age of 61. Presence of the gene typically puts women at a 50 percent higher risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.

Meanwhile, plaintiff in this employment lawsuit, filed in a U.S. District Court in Rhode Island, says that while she is seeking damages, she said she wants people to know the company treated her as if she’d done something wrong after she took decisive measures to save her own life. Continue reading

In State v. Maine State Employees Association, an employee with the state health and human services department was fired after a complaint that she had alcohol on her breath when meeting with a client. She was employed in this capacity from the mid 1980s to 2013 when she was terminated following this complaint.

kitchen-1484790Prior to her termination, she had been disciplined for drinking while on the job and entered into what the agency calls a “Last Chance Agreement.”  This occurred in 2002.  The agreement states that as condition of her continued employment, she would refrain from using or possession of any drugs or alcohol while she was being paid by her employer. In other words, she could not drink or use illegal drugs while she was on the clock. Continue reading

A former worker at a Mexican food restaurant chain has been awarded $550,000 – which includes punitive damages – after a federal jury in Washington D.C. found she was in fact discriminated for her pregnancy. pregnantwoman

Although the national chain, Chipotle, and its franchise owner had denied that it had fired the woman for her pregnancy, the jury opined this was in fact the reason for her termination from the job.

The case dates back four years. It was at that time in 2011 when plaintiff became pregnant while working at the fast-food restaurant. It was not long after she informed the manager of her pregnancy that he started acting out. He restricted her access to water. He also began giving her a hard time about bathroom breaks and informed her she needed to limit them. He even went so far as to say that anytime she needed to go to the bathroom, she had to announce it to every employee in the store, and further that he had to approve them so that her post could be covered. Continue reading