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

Since President Donald Trump has assumed office, he has followed through on his controversial plan to deport as many undocumented immigrants from the country as possible.  While he stressed that it would only be criminals who would be deported, the relatively loose definition of what a criminal is in terms of undocumented immigration is causing more deportations and more worry in the immigrant community that many thought would be the case.

farmsHowever, it is not only the workers and their families who fear an immigration crackdown, according to a recent news report from the Los Angeles Daily News.  Farmers are very worried by the immigration raids, because they rely on immigrant workers to harvest their crops.  It is not just an issue of pay.  As it turns out, Americans have very little interest in picking fruit and vegetables, even when they are being paid more than minimum wage.   Continue reading

Whenever we go on a vacation and stay in a hotel, one of the benefits is that we don’t have to do any housekeeping while we are away.  You can leave your room a mess and come back that evening, and everything will be neat and clean, just as when you first arrived.  While we know this isn’t magic, not everyone pays all that much attention to the many hardworking housekeepers that help make the trip more pleasant.

woman2Unfortunately, as discussed in a recent news article from the New York Times, a new report details a great deal of exploitation by unscrupulous employers against these dedicated individuals in the hotel and hospitality industry. Continue reading

While we may never see a flying car, as many science fiction movies of the 80’s and 90’s liked to feature, it seems that self-driving cars are going to be on the roads in large numbers in the relatively near future.  There are already some models on the road, like the ones made by Tesla, but these electric cars are technically not self-driving cars, but rely on an advanced guided cruise control system.  In other words, they make driving easier, but a human driver still needs to be behind the wheel paying attention.

woman workingHowever, there are true self-driving cars in the works.  Google seems the closest, with a system that will allow an occupant to simply program the car’s destination, and the vehicle takes over and does all of the work.  They have even tested one with a blind operator sitting in the driver’s seat.  This would obviously be a great help to those who are blind or unable to drive based upon a disability. Continue reading

One of the many campaign promises made by then-candidate Donald Trump was that he intended to make it very difficult for companies to hire immigrant workers.  As president, he has vowed to follow through on this promise.  This will hit California harder than most areas in the nation.

grapesThere are several reasons for this, and part of the problem is that California relies upon foreign nationals in vastly different sectors of industries.  There are obviously the agricultural workers who are sponsored with H2A, which is a visa program for temporary agricultural workers. However, there is also a program that is known as the H1A program that is for skilled workers with at least a university level education that performed work that is difficult for employers to staff with American workers. Continue reading

For anyone who has ever been convicted of a felony, even if they have done their time or finished probation so they are not long “on papers,” they know just how difficult it can be to a get a job.  This is a problem for convicted workers in need of a job, but it is also a problem for society.

sadThe reason it has become increasingly clear that banning convicted felons from working is problematic is that a lack of employment opportunities is one of the biggest contributors to recidivism.  How can we expect most of the people who are released from prison to stay on the straight and narrow and not commit any future crimes if they have no means of supporting themselves or their families?   Even public assistance may not be an option, because many state and federal programs across the nation ban convicted felons.   Continue reading

According to a recent news article from the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has just ordered a large nationally chartered bank to rehire a whistleblower and also to pay this aggrieved employee around $5.4 million in back pay, attorneys fees, and damages.

executiveBank manager was working at an office in Los Angeles when he discovered what he believed to be potential fraud and disclosed that potential fraud to his employer.  He told his direct supervisors and also called an ethics hotline run by the company.  The company claims the employer did not call the hotline and leave a message, but it should be noted that the company admitted during the litigation various known problems with the ethics hotline system. Continue reading

We are probably aware of how pet owners can get a microchip implanted in their dogs or cats that can be scanned to determine ownership information in case the animal is lost and not wearing a collar with identification tags.  Some of us can recall older science fiction movies, such as “Demolition Man,” where everyone had a chip implanted in his or her hand that would be used to track the person and as a method of payments.

chipIt seems the future is here, according to a recent news article form the Los Angeles Times.  This is fitting, because most of those futuristic movies of the 80s and 90s take place in a year that has already passed.  According to this recent article, one employer is giving employees the option of having a microchip implanted in the space between the thumb and index finger. Continue reading

In recent months, there has been a lot of worrying among the LGBTQ community about whether they would lose significant rights in the workplace as present Donald J. Trump works to undue the protections given to LGBTQ workers under the previous administration.  Even though Mr. Trump had vowed to leave those protections in place while he was on the campaign trail, he appears to be rolling them back via executive order.

LGBT Discrimination However, according to a recent news article from the New York Times, gay rights advocates have just scored a major victory as the federal appeals court in Chicago ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does extend its protections to the gay community.  This means that they cannot be harassed based upon sexual orientation, and if they are, it will be considered a violation of federal law. Continue reading

According to a recent news article from the Los Angeles Times, two African American employees at Fox News have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the company as well as a recently fired financial controller at the company who was fired at the end of February 2017.

womanIn the complaint, plaintiffs alleged that their supervisor routinely made racist or otherwise inappropriate comments to all of the black employees under her control. The lawsuit also mentioned the sexual harassment allegations against former company chief Roger Ailes, as well as other recent allegations of creating a hostile workplace. Continue reading