A cancer diagnosis can utterly upend your life. That’s true even when the odds are fairly good. What can be nearly as jarring is the fact that you might face cancer discrimination at your work. cancer discrimination lawyer

For most people, cancer isn’t something they planned on – or planned for. As such, many aren’t ready to pause or forego their career – and they may not need to. But most cancer patients are unlikely to make it all the way through treatment without requiring some type of workplace accommodations.

Sometimes, when employees with cancer ask for the accommodations or leave to which they are entitled under law, they are met with employer responses that can include:

As longtime advocates for fairness in the workplace, our Los Angeles employment attorneys primarily devote our energies to representing employees on the receiving end of inequity on-the-job. But there’s also value in explaining to employers how they can sidestep some of the most common issues that lead to California employment lawsuits.California workplace retaliation

Unlawful workplace retaliation is one of the most common sources of legal claims. It’s also potentially one of the costliest for employers. In a single recent years, nearly 6 in 10 claims filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged retaliation, often in conjunction with other claims. It is the No. 1 type of employment discrimination alleged nationally.

What is Retaliation in an Employment Setting?

The term “retaliation” can have a few different meanings in an employment context, but it’s only illegal when it crosses the boundaries of state and federal fair employment laws.

In this context, retaliation occurs when an employer initiates a materially adverse action because an applicant or employee asserts or engages in rights that are protected under equal employment opportunity statutes. Such rights are referred to as “protected activities.”

Examples of protected activities would be things like:

  • Refusing to comply with a directive the employee believes to be discriminatory. (This requires only a good faith belief by the employee that the conduct in question is unlawful or could become unlawful if repeated. They don’t have to prove the underlying act was, in fact, discrimination.)
  • Filing a complaint of workplace discrimination (or indicating an intention to do so) regarding one’s self or other employees.
  • Refusing sexually-charged advances at work or intervening to protect others at work.
  • Requesting reasonable accommodations, as allowed by law, for one’s disability or religion.
  • Filing a complaint with management about equal employment disparities.
  • Gathering evidence in support of or preparation for a potential equal employment opportunity claim.

(This is not an exhaustive list, but provides a general sense of what might constitute as a protected activity as referenced in retaliation statutes.) Continue Reading ›

The lawsuit comes as employers have asked the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for clearer guidance in how they should be using this technology. The EEOC has said it wants to initiate stronger enforcement of federal antidiscrimination standards to prevent hiring bias perpetuated by AI systems.
The primary plaintiff in the case against Workday  – representing others similarly situated – says he’s over 40, Black, and suffers from anxiety and depression. He has applied for upwards of 100 jobs through Workday’s system since 2018, when he earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and an associates degree in information technology. He’s been denied every single time.
Workday is a hiring screening tool that is used by thousands of employers nationally, according to the complaint. It purportedly allows for preselection of applicants outside of protected categories – with input from algorithms formulated with input from humans who, as we know, have both conscious and unconscious motivations for discrimination. This, plaintiffs say, has resulted in patterns of discriminatory practice. Furthermore, it’s alleged the software developer knew its systems were intentionally discriminating against protected class members in clear violation of the U.S. Age Discrimination in Employment Act (among other federal protections).
Plaintiff in Mobley v. Workday is seeking injunctive relief to reform the AI company’s screening products, policies, procedures, and practices to ensure that workers in state and federally protected classes will be able to compete fairly.
The company denies any wrongdoing, and insists its tools are fair and that the review process has been subject to extensive legal review to ensure compliance with state and federal employment regulations.

EEOC Has a Draft Strategic Enforcement Plan

The EEOC has a draft strategic enforcement plan that would allow its legal team four years to come up with concrete guidance on AI screening tools for employment. The strategic enforcement plan encompasses more than just AI, but the emphasis on this burgeoning tech was clear.

Continue Reading ›

A former professional body builder and personal trainer manager won her $11.25 million employment lawsuit after a jury agreed that she had been the target of rampant racism and sexism. While the case is out of New York City, NY, our Los Angeles employment lawyers recognize that such problems are pervasive throughout the fitness industry.Los Angeles racial discrimination lawyer

It’s no secret that the racial and gender diversity in many elite health clubs becomes slimmer the higher up the ladder you go. Although harmful stereotypes of the “Black athletic archetype” are deeply rooted in the U.S., it’s also given rise to the racist presumption that the only “acceptable” place for these displays is on a sports playing field. (Even then, we were well into the 20th Century before most sporting events were open to Black competitors.)

Private gyms started to gain popularity in the 1970s and 1980s – largely in the suburbs. But even if technically open to all people, those of color were underrepresented thanks to systemic redlining; they simply weren’t living in the areas where the gyms were opening. We started to see some expansion of diversity with the introduction of more ethnic fitness programs, such as Zumba, Yoga, Tae Bo, and Hip Hop dancing. But those programs still skew heavily white in many areas – both in terms of membership and employment.

“The customer is always right.” That’s the longtime adage, anyway. But it’s dead wrong when it comes to workplace harassment. Both California and federal laws protect employees against workplace harassment by customers, as well as colleagues and supervisors.California workplace harassment by customers

This is true whether your clients are high-level investors, bar patrons, retail shoppers, or patients.

You have the right to work in a harassment-free environment. That goes not just for sexual harassment, but harassment on the basis of any protected class – disability, age, religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, military or veteran status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy or related condition, etc. In California, this right also extends to independent contractors, not just employees. A harassment-free workplace is not a privilege. It’s not up for debate. It is your right.

If your employer has failed to protect you from workplace harassment by customers, you need to get on the phone with a Los Angeles employment lawyer as soon as possible. The company/employer could be held liable for failure to protect you from harassment perpetrated by non-employees, so long as there is evidence they knew or should have known about it and failed to take swift and reasonable steps to stop it.

Depending on the nature of the harassment, you might have only 180 days from the date of the last incident to initiate your complaint (if it’s a federal-level complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). You probably have longer for state-level claims, but these aren’t “wait and see” situations. Fast action is recommended.

Laws that Protect Employees from Customer Harassment

Both federal and state laws protect against workers being subjected to a hostile work environment as a result of harassment. Continue Reading ›

Much debate in recent years has centered on whether American workers in certain industries should be compelled to continue their reliance on tipped wages. There are roughly 5.5 million such workers, and their non-tipped wages often fall far below both the federal and state minimum wages. They may also be subject to tip pools. legal tipping pool California

As noted by the California Labor Commissioner’s Office, a “tip” is money left by a customer over the actual amount due for the services or goods they received. That money belongs to the worker(s) – not the employer.

Workers who rely on tipped wages are often (understandably) very protective of them. Tipping pools, which compel workers to share those tips with fellow employees, are not favored among tipped workers.

In California, tip pooling is legal as long as it is done in compliance with state and federal laws. However, there are specific rules and regulations regarding tip pooling that employers must follow in order to avoid violating workers’ rights.

Under California law, employers are allowed to require employees to participate in a tip pool, where tips are collected and distributed among employees who provide direct table service to customers. However, employers are not allowed to take any portion of the tips for themselves or use them for any purpose other than distributing them to eligible employees. Continue Reading ›

The implicit bias and racial disparities in health care are well-documented. In America, Black people are likely to get sicker and die earlier than other racial groups – largely because they receive lower quality (and quantity) health care than white counterparts. But according to a recent California racial discrimination employment lawsuit, the patients aren’t the only ones treated disparately. California racial discrimination at work

According to recent court filings, the case in question involves an internationally renowned eye doctor for children – the first and only Black doctor to chair a department in the Palo Alto Medical Foundation area of Sutter Health, one of the largest hospital systems in California. A longtime employee, he alleges that racism in the workplace resulted in his being the subject of repeated derogatory comments, as well as reductions in salary and demotions.

He referred to the racism he suffered as “they type that hits you in the back of the head when you don’t see it coming.” Continue Reading ›

If believe you have been subject to employment discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, or retaliation at work, your path to justice can go one of two ways: Filing your own lawsuit or handing the case over the California Civil Rights Department. Sometimes, you opt for the latter and might still end up suing, but you could also skip the state’s involvement and go straight to court. Los Angeles employment lawyer

How do you decide which route to go?

You might be best served by scheduling a free consultation with at least one or possibly a couple of Los Angeles employment attorneys. Have the basic facts of your case ready to run through. They can’t give you legal advice unless/until they are hired, but they can probably provide you with information to help you make an informed choice about which option makes the most sense in your case. And these conversations are confidential.

Do I Have to File a Complaint With Human Resources?

In some situations, yes.

Doing so may not be necessary if the company refused to hire you. It also may not be necessary if you were discriminated against based on your position in a protected class (race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, disability, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, age over 40, pregnancy or related condition, etc.).

However, it may depend on the particulars of your situation and whether part of your claim involves harassment and/or retaliation. Continue Reading ›

It’s common practice for employers accused of discrimination against their workers to try to dig up dirt about the workers’ past – anything that might help bolster their case. But can the evidence acquired after the employee had been disparately treated be used to justify those actions? employment lawyer

“After-acquired evidence” is proof of employee misconduct that an employer discovers after the employee’s been discharged on other grounds (often after an California employment lawsuit has been filed). Courts have debated for years whether such evidence can be used as a defense in employment litigation.

A few years ago, the California Supreme Court significantly limited the use of the defense in employment discrimination cases.

The instructive case our Los Angeles employment lawyers refer to when this question arises is Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co. In this matter, plaintiff sued his former employer under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, alleging the company failed in its legal obligation to accommodate his physical disability and refused to rehire him in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

After this claim was filed, the employer was made aware of information indicating that the plaintiff had used someone else’s Social Security number in order to gain employment in the first place. The employer used this to file a motion for summary judgment in its favor. The trial court initially denied this motion, but than issued an alternative write effectively granting it – an action the appellate court affirmed. The California Supreme Court, however, reversed. Continue Reading ›

There was no question the text messages crossed the line. A drug store supervisor sent them to a subordinate employee – one a picture of his genitals and another of him engaged in a sexual act. But was the employer liable for sexual harassment? Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer

As Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers, exchanges like this are huge red flags that no employer should ignore. But from a legal standpoint, the question when it comes to employer liability for such actions is: What was the response? Were the complaints taken seriously and investigated in good faith? Did the company protect the supervisor or was their adequate accountability? Was the subordinate’s safety taken into account or were they left to fend for themselves? Did the company retaliate against the reporting employee?

In the recent case of Atalla v. Rite Aid Corporation et al., the California Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District ruled in favor of the employer, finding that the acts that led to alleged sexual harassment stemmed from a relationship that was entirely private and separate from the supervisor-subordinate dynamic. Further, the employer – once notified of the incident – did conduct an investigation, fire the supervisor, invite the employee to return to her job, and offer her paid counseling.

According to court records in the case, the plaintiff, a pharmacy intern, and her boss were close friends. In fact, they had a pre-existing friendship before she started working for the company that had no connection to the job. They had regular, candid, and familiar interactions on a wide range of topics. They frequently talked on the phone and texted with each other – not just about work, but their families, food, other people, pets, exercise, vacations, alcohol, etc. They also had regular, in-person interactions with each other, meeting up for birthday dinners, holidays, lunches, and coffee. The exchange in question was sent by the supervisor to the subordinate outside of the workplace and not during work hours.

Soon after receiving those messages, plaintiff’s employment lawyer sent a letter to the company’s human resources division, alleging sexual harassment and saying she wouldn’t return to work. An attorney for the employer spoke to plaintiff’s attorney, and the incident was immediately investigated. HR met with the supervisor, who confessed to sending the messages. he was suspended, informed of the company’s anti-retaliation policy, and then ultimately fired.

The sexually explicit text messages were undoubtedly inappropriate, but were they work-related? Was there evidence the sender was acting in his capacity as supervisor when he sent them? Continue Reading ›

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