A state-mandated project to track sexual harassment and gender discrimination in California government is slated to start in January 2020 – finally. Our Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers know that not only will that make it a year late, but also long overdue. sexual harassment lawyer

The $1.5 million project was supposed to have already been underway this year, making 2019 the first year officials would have data on what we know to be a pervasive problem.

Under the previous state administration, the project was outlined as a meaningful first step toward addressing allegations of government-employee harassment and discrimination based on gender. The initiative was spurred in the midst of the #MeToo movement – at a time when more than 140 women working for the state government signed an open letter detailing their experiences with workplace sexual harassment.

Those included:

  • A California State Corrections Officer who, along with numerous other female corrections officers, were ignored when reporting constant indecent exposure and sexual harassment at work. When the CO wrote up an inmate for indecent exposure one week, nothing was done and she was brutally attacked by that same inmate while working without her partner one day. Officers later found numerous drawings of the C.O. in sexually explicit and violent poses in the inmate’ cell.
  • A state Highway Patrol field officer sexually harassed for months by another officer while supervisors did nothing to respond.
  • A state pollution control employee raped by a supervisor.

They are among 10 sexual harassment plaintiffs to whom The Sacramento Bee reported the state had paid some $25 million over the course of three years just to settle claims. Continue reading

In many employment discrimination lawsuits, proving pretext means showing evidence that the defendant employer’s reported reason for taking adverse employment action is contrived. In other words, the reason the company gave for the worker’s firing or other adverse employment event was made up in order to cover up its discriminatory intent.pretext discrimination lawsuit

If a California employment lawsuit plaintiff can prove “prima facie” (correct on first impression) evidence that there was employment discrimination, the court will shift the burden of proof to the employer to prove that it had a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the action it took. Plaintiff may then take this reason and provide evidence that it’s merely a pretext for discrimination. Plaintiff will have the burden of showing it was a cover-up, and not in fact the reason reason for the employment decision.

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a decision in Haynes v. Waste Connections, Inc. ruling the plaintiff employee had made a valid comparison of a similarly situated employee who was treated differently than he was. This served as evidence of that the defense was using this as a pretext for the reason reason – which was discriminatory. Continue reading

Although federal labor laws cut employers a break when it comes to payment of “de minimus” work – that which is “trivial,” and only takes just a few minutes. In other words, the de minimum rule employers can compel workers to complete a minimal amount of work off-the-clock, rather than making them clock back in for an occasional couple minutes here-and-there.Los Angeles employment lawyer

However, a California Supreme Court decision last year held that defense was not applicable in the Golden State, as our lawmakers and courts expressly sought to provide greater protection for workers compared to federal law.

The state high court’s ruling in Troester v. Starbucks has proven a precedent, on which another federal appellate court ruling has been based. Continue reading

Rideshare companies may compete fiercely on the road, but when it comes to classifying drivers as employees, they are rock-solid united. The CEOs of Uber and Lyft penned an opinion-editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle voicing opposition to a new California law that would re-designate their drivers from independent contractors to employees – with all the actual legal benefits and bargaining rights that entails. Los Angeles employment lawyer

The company has long been extremely reticent to classify these workers as “employees,” arguing their business model is unique in that it merely connects riders to customers, and is not a traditional “transportation company.” It owns no vehicles, drivers have no direct supervision and drivers are free to set their own hours, types of vehicles/services. The company does, however, insure drivers and provides a host of standards and criteria workers are required to meet.

However, Assembly Bill 5 – a broad piece of legislation that will become law if it gains the vote of the state senate as well as Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature – would expand the definition of “independent contractor” to more closely match that which was outlined in last year’s California Supreme Court decision in Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Los Angeles Superior Court. Continue reading

Nevada recently became the first state to ban employment discrimination of job applicants who use cannabis. Although other states have been inching toward this kind of measures, and employers have been adopting marijuana-friendly practices internally, Nevada is the first to adopt this into state law. employment attorney cannabis discrimination

Los Angeles employment discrimination attorneys at The Nassiri Law Group (who also have extensive experience in California cannabis law) recognize that perhaps this isn’t all that surprising given Nevada’s long-time reputation as a libertarian-leaning state. It’s not clear whether others will follow, but it could set a strong precedence in other states where the drug is legal both for medicine and recreation.

Vice.com reports the new law, which comes three years after the state legalized cannabis, will take effect in 2020 and prohibits companies from declining to hire potential employees who test positive for the drug. Continue reading

Most employment lawsuits based on federal discrimination laws must first go through the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, better known as EEOC. With few exceptions, these cases involve the protected statuses as set forth in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC launches an investigation and then gives Notice of Right to Sue when the investigation is closed, which allows permission to file your federal or state employment discrimination lawsuit withing 90 days. You can request the right to sue sooner or, if you’re filing an age discrimination claim, you don’t have to wait.workplace discrimination

The idea was to resolve some of these matters without litigation, but also in a way that ensured maximum public good when an employer was caught unfairly treating workers. The EEOC doesn’t pursue government sanctions in every case (increasingly less so), but oftentimes information gleaned from that investigation can be helpful to your personal claim.

But apparently, the EEOC isn’t even doing much of that. In fact, an investigative co-report by the Center for Public Integrity and Vox. The report indicated an increasing number of workplace discrimination cases are being closed before they are ever even investigated. Continue reading

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

Gender discrimination in California is rarely as blatant has it has been in the world of gaming.gender discrimination

One study conducted by the International Game Developers Association revealed nearly three-quarters of women in the industry work in jobs outside of actual development, meaning in turn they aren’t represented in content, character representation, styles of interaction or systems of rewards within the games. Another survey conducted by the same group two years ago revealed roughly 75 percent of those responding are male, reflecting little change in the last decade, lending credence to its reputation as a “boys club” and resulting in games that that tend to be less inclusive and misogynistic.

Now, the embattled developer of one popular game is now facing investigation by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing for ongoing gender discrimination. This is the same company that has been named a defendant in recent litigation over its reportedly toxic misogynistic culture. Continue reading

In what is considered a major shift in policy that could go a long way toward discouraging gender discrimination and sexual harassment in scientific fields, the National Academy of Sciences – for the first time – has said it will eject members for violations of its code of conduct – which includes both sexual assault and sexual harassment.gender discrimination

Riverside sexual harassment attorneys see this as a potentially pivotal shift, as the agency welcomes some of the world’s most prominent scientists. When they are elected to positions, it is for life, and the current stance is that they can only be asked to leave, but there is no authority that can force them to depart.

This new policy will change that. Combined with another announcement from the influential leader of the U.S. National Institutes of Health that he will no longer speak on scientific panels that do not include women, this could go a long way toward ending sexism and unchecked sexual harassment within the scientific community, which has a long history of being traditionally male. Continue reading

Tech giant Google is facing down the real possibility of a massive contractor misclassfication lawsuit that underscores just how pervasive this problem truly is.

Workers who are wrongful classified as contractors rather than employees are missing out on hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in wages and benefits, including overtime compensation, travel reimbursement, benefits like vacation time and sick leave and various kinds of insurance coverage. All the protections laid out in California’s wage and hour statutes – those only apply to employees. But of course – that’s exactly why it’s so pervasive, as it’s the company that classifies the workers – and many have long gotten away with it. employee misclassification

Google happens to be huge and high-profile, so the sheer volume of workers potentially involved is substantial. But Los Angeles employee misclassification lawyers know this problem is far from limited to large, international corporations. It’s true that industry giants like Microsoft, Lyft and Federal Express have had to pay huge compensation to misclassified workers over the years, but we’ve seen it too in mom-and-pop restaurants, manufacturing facilities, local car washes and retail operations.

If there is one good thing to come from the case, it’s that it will raise awareness of the issue. The Economic Policy Institute Estimates about one-fifth of all U.S. companies are currently misclassifying at least one worker. Continue reading