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Los Angeles Employment Law Blog

The status of discrimination against disabled workers in 2018

Even though workers in California and across the United States usually benefit where there are low unemployment levels, this favorable situation does not fully extend to those individuals who live with disabilities. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that unemployment among disabled Americans can reach levels as high as 70 percent, and these persons tend make about $1,000 less per month when compared to people who do not have disabilities.

Even though the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the American With Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibit employment discrimination against disabled workers, there is still a disparate impact in the workplace when it comes to ableism. Although most employers do not practice ableism intentionally, there is an ugly undercurrent of managers who tend to favor workers who do not have disabilities. In many cases, managers get the wrong idea about affirmative action and believe that they are doing their civic duty when hiring disabled employees to handle menial tasks at low rates of pay.

Recent court rulings could impact FLSA claims

Employers in California and around the country are required to pay their workers overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours during a workweek, but certain employees, such as executives, managers and salespeople are not covered by the landmark federal law. However, these distinctions can become blurred when workers perform jobs that involve selling as well as other duties. Decisions about whether or not an employee is covered by the FLSA have generally been left to the courts, and a case dealing with these issues was recently argued before the Supreme Court of the United States.

In a 5-4 decision that followed party lines, the justices ruled that service writers at automobile dealerships are salespeople and are therefore not covered by provisions of the FLSA. The 9th Circuit originally ruled that service writers were entitled to overtime pay under a Department of Labor interpretation of FLSA exemptions, but the Supreme Court felt that the 2011 regulation should not be deferred to because the agency failed to adequately explain it.

Report says IBM practiced age discrimination

Some older employees of IBM in California might have faced age discrimination on the job. According to a report by "Pro Publica" and "Mother Jones," the company employs a number of methods to push out workers who are over 40 such as laying them off, firing them, giving them a choice between moving to a distant city or quitting, and saying that their skills are out of date but then rehiring them as contractors at a lower pay with fewer benefits.

The report estimates that over 20,000 employees older than 40 have been cut from the company's work force. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits discrimination against people who are 40 and older, but IBM denies that it has practiced age discrimination. The company no longer includes ages along with other information about people whose jobs are being cut. It also stopped requiring employees to waive the right to file a lawsuit for age bias in order to take severance, but it replaced it by requiring private arbitration. This is a process that tends to favor employers over employees.

California man adds whistleblower protection claim

A man who filed multiple claims against Roadrunner Intermodal Services and Central Cal Transportation has amended his complaint to add a count claiming protection under California's whistleblower protection statute. The amended complaint was filed in federal court on March 5.

According to the complaint, the man and another individual sold their capital stock in Central Cal Transportation to Roadrunner when Roadrunner acquired the other company. In exchange, Roadrunner paid the man a little more than $110,000 and promised to pay an earn-out amount if the company earned profits of at least $1.4 million in the subsequent fiscal years. The man was also hired on to Central Cal Transportation as its vice president at a salary of $200,000.

How to recognize age discrimination at work

Age discrimination can be a mind-boggling issue. Older workers tend to be more stable, experienced and hardworking, so why would a business not want to hire them? Yet over 20 percent of discrimination reports to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involve age, shares AARP.

With life expectancy increasing and retirement far ahead for most people, it is wise for senior employees to be able to recognize when they face age discrimination in the workplace. If any of these actions happen to you, speak to an attorney to determine if you have a lawsuit.

Why Google's reputation matters in court

Workers in California and elsewhere have long seen Google as an innovative company and a great place to work. However, this can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to discrimination lawsuits. If a company has a good reputation, it is unlikely to be found liable in such a case. On the other hand, if Google is found liable, the organization could be subject to severe consequences.

Prestigious companies may suffer greater punishments because they have more to lose if a hostile workplace culture is discovered. Furthermore, people don't like it when companies are hypocritical about their values. This can lead to a backlash from investors, the media and other parties. Currently, Google faces a lawsuit claiming that it discriminates against white males who are conservative. It faces another lawsuit claiming that women are paid less than men.

Two court cases could impact LGBTQ workplace rights

California readers know that it is illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ employees in the workplace. However, some employers attempt to use religion as an excuse to do so. Two recent federal lawsuits could put an end to that.

In a case that has yet to be decided, Lambda Legal filed an appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a man who was denied a health care sales job due to his sexual orientation. Court documents state that the man was offered a sales position at Missouri's Midwest Geriatric Management, but the employment offer was taken back when the owners of the company learned he is gay. The owners claim that his sexual orientation is not compatible with their religious beliefs.

Is it a red flag if an employer asks for your current salary?

California has taken several steps recently to make pay more equitable. For example, the Equal Pay Act was amended in 2016 to safeguard against wage discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity and to make it harder to pay men more money than women for doing substantially similar work. Similarly, as of 2018, California employers cannot use your previous salary to determine how much to pay you now unless you offer the information ‚Äúvoluntarily and without prompting." That means employers cannot ask you in a job interview how much you currently make.

This move should help to reduce pay disparities in the areas of gender and race, among others. However, if you are applying for work and going for interviews, you may notice that some employers ask for your salary information anyway. Is that a red flag?

Lawsuit accuses Google of race discrimination

A former Google employee accused the California-based technology giant of discriminating against job candidates based on their race in a lawsuit filed on Jan. 29. The man claims that he was fired in November 2017 after voicing concerns about hiring policies that excluded white and Asian men in order to promote a more diverse workplace environment and insulate Google from the criticism that has been leveled at many leading technology companies.

The lawsuit alleges that recruiters at Google and its subsidiaries were given clear orders to interview only women or black or Latino men for software engineer positions and to purge all white or Asian male applicants from the hiring pipeline. The lawsuit names Google and 25 of the company's workers who are claimed to have enforced the discriminatory policy. The man claims that any Google workers who complained about the company's hiring practices were fired, demoted or ignored.

Allegations of harassment, discrimination at university

A California university is facing allegations of discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation. A nurse at the University of California, San Francisco, has filed a lawsuit against the university, the UC Board of Regents and the UC President.

In October 2017, the nurse reported her supervisor for religious discrimination and sexual harassment. Her attorney says that although her complaint was validated,she has been harassed by coworkers, the supervisor and the university since filing the claim. Furthermore her attorney alleges that this is a pattern of behavior at UCSF. He says that the university opens complaints about people who report harassment or discrimination and terminate employees via those complaints.

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