According to a recent news article from CBS Local Los Angeles, workers at Disneyland Resort are organizing demonstrations to protest what they are calling unfairly low wages. This demonstration involves a protest outside of the resort and the presentment of a petition to the company CEO demanding higher wages for their hard work for the amusement park.

sex discriminationA representative for the workers said their petition contains over 117,000 signatures and it began circulating when United States Senator Bernie Sanders was in Anaheim to discuss the wage issue there and other wage issues across the nation. Higher wages for working Americans has been one of the main issues for Mr. Sanders during his bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and he has continued his efforts on this front as a senator when he lost in primaries to Hillary Clinton.  Continue reading

Right now, more mothers are joining the workforce than any time in history. In addition, there is a pregnancy discriminationgrowing trend of friendlier office policies geared toward families in general and mothers in particular. Why then are there still an alarming amount of cases where pregnant women report enduring discrimination and unfair treatment? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has collected a gradually increasing number of pregnancy discrimination claims over the years, and officials say the number is approaching a record high.

The New York Times delved into the issue recently and discovered an unsettling pattern of discrimination that still flows beneath the surface, even at large and reputable companies. Big names on the list include Walmart, Whole Foods, AT&T, and 21st Century Fox, all of which, as the article pointed out, have grand statements about being champions of women in their communications.

Women in all kinds of careers have anecdotes to share. Our employment attorneys know labor jobs can often have more blatant discrimination. Examples include refusals to allow pregnant women accommodations they need to complete their work, no leniency for breaks, refusal to adjust demands due to physical limitations, and series of micro-aggressions, like not allowing them to have water on the work floor. Continue reading

Employers have long tried to figure out ways to control their employees not only while they are on the clock, but alsoemployment attorneys during their personal time. Joining a company can sometimes feel like a way of life rather than a way to earn income to sustain yourself. The latest way employers are overstepping their bounds is through “moonlighting” bans, or rules restricting employees who want to take on a second job. The National Labor Relations Board, however, recently struck down one such ban, sending a message to other employers across the country.

This is a major victory for employees, who already have more than enough burdens to carry. Our employment lawyers know if someone is taking on a second job, it is almost always because they are in need of more cash in order to make ends meet. The last thing workers should have to worry about is whether taking on additional work to provide for their families will jeopardize their first source of income.

An NLRB administrative law judge recently ruled on a company policy that put undue restrictions on the type of second job an employee could take on. Limitations imposed by the company stated that the job could not be inconsistent with the company’s interests and could not reflect poorly on the company’s public image. While the company argued the policy was meant to prevent employees from working for competitors, the judge rightly countered that insisting employees put company interests first even in their free time had the potential to infringe on unions, whose interests would serve other employees rather than the company. Whether intentional or not, the wording would affect workers’ right to organize, and thus those parts of the policy were struck down. Continue reading

In light of increased awareness of sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace, investigations and policysexual harassment revisions are happening all over the country. One congresswoman is sounding the alarm in the Department of Veterans Affairs in particular after survey numbers showed reports of sexual harassment there were higher than average across departments in the federal government. Of female respondents, 26 percent said they had experienced sexual harassment, and 14 percent of male respondents between 2014 and 2016, according to a report from Stars and Stripes. In fact, VA respondents reported the highest rates of sexual harassment, with Department of Homeland Security coming in second. This compares to 21 percent of women and 9 percent of men across federal departments as a whole. The survey collected data on a variety of behaviors, ranging from teasing to stalking and sexual assault. Gender harassment led the survey in reported incidents, with unwanted sexual attention and sexual coercion following behind.

Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH), ranking Democrat on the Veterans’s Affairs subcommittee on oversight and investigations, has called on the chairman of the subcommittee to hold a congressional oversight hearing on the matter. Her response came on the heels of findings being released by the Merit Systems Protection Board, an independent group that is housed within the executive branch whose mission is to protect the rights of government workers.  Continue reading

New Hampshire has joined California in protecting residents from gender identity discrimination with the passing of House Bill 1319, which gender discriminationwas signed into law by Gov. Chris Sununu. The bill added gender discrimination to the state’s current civil rights statute, which already includes age, sex, religious creed, race, color, national origin, physical or mental disability, familial status, and sexual orientation. By doing so, the updated law would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in regards to housing, employment, and public accommodations.

 According to a report from New Hampshire Union Leader, the bill received support not only from the governor and state legislature, but also the American Civil Liberties Union, the Human Rights Commission, several health establishments, and a New Hampshire police chief association.

Gender identity primarily involves giving people the freedom to express their gender however they see fit, regardless of the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender people, for example, would benefit from such protections. In recent years some have argued that gender identity discrimination falls under sex discrimination, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and former Attorney General Eric Holder. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, however, has attempted to end this line of thinking. He released a memo last fall that expressly excluded gender identity from sex discrimination protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A spokesperson from the Justice Department claimed any attempts to extend those protections was an exaggeration of the laws Congress put in place. This has turned gender into a partisan issue with transgender citizens in the crosshairs. Continue reading

Not only is sexual harassment in the workplace illegal, but it also is costing a significant amount of money. Thesexual harassment influx of reports of sexual misconduct has led journalists and investigators to dig into the scope of these behaviors. What they have found is a trail of monetary payoffs and cover-ups over the years that have kept accusers silent and cost states and businesses a sizeable amount of money. California, despite having many protections, may be one of the biggest offenders.

The News Journal in Delaware recently revealed sexual misconduct payoffs over the past decade cost the state $663,000, plus the costs of litigation. Cases were filed alleging sexual harassment, misconduct, and discrimination across a variety of departments. Totals in other states varied pretty widely. Florida tallied $11 million in settlements, but that was over a 30-year period. Investigations in New York revealed at least $5 million in payouts from 2008-2010. Continue reading

A longtime agent in Tennessee has filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles-headquartered Agency for the Performingemployment lawyers Arts alleging a hostile work environment and seeking to be released from his contract. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee. Plaintiff claims executives at the agency have tried to edge him out and take his clients, sent hostile and abusive emails to him, and threw him into a wall during an argument, according to a report from Tennessean. The agent alleged an internal inquiry into the events led to a vague response from the company, essentially calling on all parties involved to follow the rules and get along. Plaintiff found this conclusion unacceptable, and believes APA’s tolerance of a hostile work environment frees him of his contract, which is set to expire in 2019. Continue reading

The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement is attempting to chip away at the state’s ongoing wage theftwage theft problem through a series of investigations throughout the state. Officials recently cited seven restaurants in the Bay Area for stolen wages totaling more than $10 million. Over $5 million of that total came from 133 workers at one restaurant, according to an article from SFGate. Additionally, six residential facilities in Los Angeles were issued citations totaling $7 million in recent months, and a Los Angeles restaurant was charged $500,000. In Chino, a fitness and weight loss chain was cited $8.3 million. Violations included counting tips toward minimum hourly wage, withholding overtime payments, and not paying split-shift premiums.

As our employment attorneys can explain, California minimum wage as of Jan. 1, 2018, is $11 per hour for places of employment with more than 25 employees, and $10.50 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees. The state is in the middle of a gradual increase process, with wages going up incrementally each year until they reach $15 per hour in 2023. In many states, restaurant workers have a different minimum hourly wage than other workers that is provided by their employer, so long as their tips bring them up to at least the standard hourly minimum wage. But in California, restaurant owners are not allowed to use tips as a credit toward their employees’ minimum wage. Servers must be compensated with full minimum wage, plus all the tips they earn. If a California employer holds back any tips or applies tips toward their hourly wage, it is considered wage theft. Continue reading

In what unfortunately is an unsurprising trend, the percentage of female coaches for NCAA sports teams is decreasing, even for women’s sex discriminationteams. According to a report from KCUR, women are actually losing ground over their male counterparts in coaching positions, despite more equal rights awareness and protections than ever.

To illustrate the trend, 20 percent of softball coaches were men in 1982 at the time of the first Women’s College World Series. The eight teams who played in the championships that year were all coached by women. Today, Division I softball programs have expanded greatly, and so has the percentage of men coaching those teams, up to 35 percent.

It’s not just softball that’s affected. In 1972 more than 90 percent of all collegiate teams were coached by women. Now it’s half, according to NCAA Champion Magazine. The KCUR report showed that of Division I volleyball teams, a championship title victor has never been coached by a woman, and in women’s basketball only four of the Sweet 16 teams last year were coached by women. This isn’t even to address the obvious lack of women coaching men’s teams. Women’s sports in general have increased in respect and popularity, making coaching opportunities more appealing to men, who previously were less interested in the roles. Continue reading

Employers often want to position their companies as a place that the next generation of workers will thrive and feel welcome. However, it’s age discriminationcrucial that in doing so, they are not committing age discrimination.

An Orlando-based national restaurant chain learned this lesson the hard way after settling an age discrimination lawsuit brought on by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for $2.85 million. According to a Newsweek report, about 135 applicants alleged they were asked their age during interviews and that interviewers made age-related comments. They claimed they were then denied employment because of their ages.

Managers at Seasons 52, part of the Darden family of restaurants, allegedly made comments to applicants age 40 or older that they were “Looking for someone younger,” or that “Seasons 52 girls are younger and fresh.” The lawsuit covered 35 restaurants across the nation, including California. In addition to pointed questions about age, EEOC claimed the chain also hired people 40 and older at a significantly lower rate than younger applicants, even for back-of-house positions.

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