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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

A UPS driver filed a lawsuit against United Parcel Service nine years ago, claiming she had been unfairly discriminated against. The case ended up reaching all the way to the Supreme Court before it was finally resolved through a settlement. pregnant-belly-1313787

A Los Angeles discrimination lawyer knows the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission has now issued new enforcement guidelines clarifying protections for pregnant workers. Even with this new clarity, employers may continue to violate the law and treat workers who are pregnant unfairly. Employees need to know what their rights are and should pursue legal action in cases where employers violate laws protecting pregnant women.

Pregnancy Discrimination Case Finally Settles

According to a recent news story from The Daily Californian, a large group of demonstrators were singing in protest at California Hall to protest University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and its decision to use contract-based workers instead of full-time employees on the campus.

on-the-quad-60945-mThis group of demonstrators said the university was being “super cheap” in their hiring practices and called on the university to hire more union workers to fill those jobs. This group of protesters included both workers and students, and they went to the chancellor’s office holding a cake that was decorated with the phrase, “I don’t always pay fair wages, but when I do it’s in Berkeley and Richmond.” The group also sang songs they had written for the protest. They were asking for fair wages, decent healthcare, and for the university to hire employees instead of using more contractors. Continue reading

Employees who turn in an application to an employer may not realize they have significant rights under federal law – even if they are not hired. Employers who decide to use consumer background checks, including criminal history or credit reports, to make a hiring decision must follow a very strict set of rules to do so.

First of all, they must inform you of their intent and get your permission. Your authorization for access to this information must be clear and separate from any other consent forms. In the event that an employer is not going to hire you because of what is turned up in reports, you must be given notice and time to rectify any mistakes.

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These are only a few of the requirements set forth by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and an increasing number of employers are being held liable for violations. According to recent reports, Paramount Pictures is the most recent big offender in a string of class action lawsuits related to FCRA violations in the hiring process. The motion picture production company has been accused of failing to inform candidates of its intent to delve into their consumer, credit, and criminal histories. The class action alleges that there were very strict policies and practices that were not followed by the company.