Articles Tagged with sexual harassment

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 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

Workers who’ve suffered California sexual harassment will now have a number of new state-level protections in place as of next year, including:

  • An end to employer-imposed secrecy and non-disclosure agreements that silence victims and protect abusers (victims may still choose to keep their own identify protected);
  • An attempt to end the so-called “one free grope” standard confirmed by the 9th Circuit federal court 18 years ago (stemming from the “severe or pervasive” legal standard set forth in California’s sexual harassment statute);
  • Mandated sexual harassment training increased to twice annually for all California employees.Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney

Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys have been watching these efforts move down the legislative pipeline (along with a few others, including the highly-controversial AB 3080, which would have banned mandatory arbitration agreements as a condition of employment, which failed when voted by Gov. Jerry Brown). The good news the passage of these new measures at least provide a solid foundation for harassed, abused and exploited workers to have adequate means of protection and reprisal.

Each measure goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Continue reading

A bill that would have outlawed California mandatory workplace arbitration agreements was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown, who signed a number of #metoo -inspired laws but soundly rejected this one. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego,  AB 3080 would have barred companies from mandating employees sign arbitration agreements – forgoing their right to judicial remedy in the event of a dispute – as a required condition of employment. Riverside sexual harassment lawyers at The Nassiri Law Group were skeptical of the bill’s chances, particularly given that Brown had vetoed a similar measure three years ago. California employer arbitration lawyer

Although supporters of the measure aren’t wrong in noting that forced workplace arbitration agreements effectively silence workers who are legitimately victimized while shielding harassers and abusers, the unfortunate reality is that both the California Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court have time and again ruled that employers can lawfully require employees to sign arbitration agreements in which they waive the right to take a claim for sexual harassment or other employee rights issue before a judge and jury.

The U.S. Supreme Court Bolstered Employer Protections Precluding AB 3080

One of the most recent of those cases weighed by the U.S. Supreme Court was Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, decided in May. The court was asked to interpret two federal laws – the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 and the Federal Arbitration Act in 1925. Specifically, the latter contains a provision stating that any contract (employment or otherwise) that contains a provision requiring arbitration instead of litigation to resolve disputes is to be considered valid and enforceable unless there are legal or equity grounds on which to deem the contract invalid. The NLRA meanwhile allows workers the right to self-organize, form, join or assist in organized labor and to engage in collective bargaining.

So the question was whether a no-group arbitration clause, in violating portions of the NLRA, provides for legal grounds to prohibit employer-imposed mandatory arbitration agreements.  Continue reading

Gender discrimination and sexual harassment attorneys in California know women who work in federal prisons housing male inmates tend to go into the job expecting they will be targeted for unwanted attention from the resident populace. This isn’t to say such behavior is tolerable, but it’s the reason these workers wear over-sized uniforms, slick their hair into tight buns, do almost everything possible to hide any trace of femininity. But worse than abuse they face from the inmates, they told The New York Times and detailed in gender discrimination lawsuit depositions, is the fact their male colleagues encourage this behavior – and even participate in it. On more than one occasion, this has resulted not only in a hostile workplace, but an extremely dangerous one. Further, they allege that when these incidents are reported, they face retaliation, including blackballing and termination, the male colleagues who harass them reportedly rise in their field.sexual harassment attorney

Our Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys are aware of cases wherein female prison workers have been groped, taunted daily, subjected to incessant inmate masturbation and threatened with rape. Anytime they reported this, the women say, their supervisors downplayed it, encouraged them to “let it go.” Once when a female worker refused, she said her supervisors required her to undergo an unwanted medical exam that required her to expose her breasts in front of a colleague. In another case, a case manager was reportedly raped by an inmate. When the 24-year employee reported it, she was criminally charged with raping her attacker. She was later acquitted by a jury, but her retirement savings was depleted for her defense fund and her daughter had to drop out of college because she couldn’t afford it.

This isn’t the first time abuses of female prison employees have come to light. In 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a stunning report, indicating sexual harassment and retaliation claims were not only unusually high within the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, but also that they were routinely mishandled. And this is not a small problem, given that more than 10,000 women work within the federal prison system. Women who have lodged complaints say they have been essentially blocked from any future in the corrections system – even when their claims prevail. This is evidenced by the fact that a Congressional oversight committee last year learned that prisons were continuing to grant high-level administrators huge bonuses, even though the complaints regarding sexual harassment were pervasive, the handling of them clearly unlawful. Continue reading

The allegations against Hollywood entertainment executive Harvey Weinstein have become increasingly ghastly in recent weeks. Increasingly more have come forward to report decades of harassment – and in several cases, blatant sexual assault – at his hands. The legal ramifications of this conduct are not limited to Mr. Weinstein himself. The emerging facts indicate that Weinstein Co., the executive’s famous production company which has become a pillar of the Hollywood business industry, will also be subjected to civil liability for the crimes committed by its disgraced leader.

Los Angeles employment lawyers
Employment attorneys know that such instances of sexual harassment and even sexual assault in the workplace are not isolated. They occur in all industries, at all levels of employment. The question of whether a company can be sued for sexual harassment depends on a myriad of factors, and talking with a skilled employment law attorney can help you sort through your legal options.

When Can a Company Be Liable for the Conduct of Its Workers?

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

A new report by Broadly indicates many females who work as professional massage therapists report experiencing constant sexual harassment – mostly from clients or prospective clients. massage

This sexual harassment can include anything form inappropriate requests to heckling to unwanted touching, usually from male clients.

Erotic massages, which are a sexual service, are illegal in the U.S., except for in licensed brothels in Nevada, where prostitution is legal. Nonetheless, several high-profile incidents of arrests for illicit massages (a form of prostitution) has led to erroneous presumptions about what these professionals do. Legitimate therapists, who studied for their position and are certified and consider themselves health professionals, are often inundated with insults, sexual rhetoric and sleazy comments. Continue reading

There is a saying that is particularly pervasive in retail that, “The customer is always right.” But this is not true when the customer behaves in a manner that is threatening or hostile to store employees. This includes instances of sexual harassment. woman

Sexual harassment is a serious and pervasive problem in American workplaces. It also is not limited to interactions with co-worker or supervisors. Sexual harassment can occur in the context of other professional relationships, including those between customers and suppliers.

Further, sexual harassment in those situations does not need to consist of any outright demand for sex or sexual favors in exchange for business. It can take on a wide range of inappropriate behaviors or unwanted advances, including dirty jokes, repeated sexual innuendo or the use of offensive language. Although business owners may not be protected under sexual harassment laws, they do have the option to end the contract. Employees, however, are considered more vulnerable and they may be covered under sexual harassment laws.  Continue reading

In mid-2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s sexual harassment task force released a report revealing some troubling findings:

  • One-third of complaints to EEOC during fiscal year 2015 included an allegation of workplace harassment, including on the basis of sex.
  • The EEOC recovered nearly $165 million that year from companies where workplace harassment persisted.
  • Much of the current training methods are ineffective at prevention, as they focus mostly on sidestepping legal liability for workplace harassment. woman

Sexual harassment in particular is a serious concern – and a pervasive one.  Continue reading