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Los Angeles Employment Law Blog

Forms of workplace pregnancy discrimination you should know

There can be a lot of excitement when you learn that you are expecting a child. However, the situation might become tainted if your employer responds inappropriately to the announcement.

Laws in the United States protect women from workplace discrimination for the duration of their pregnancy. No one should have to live in fear of sharing such wonderful news. If you just found out that you are expecting, keep an eye out for these three signs of pregnancy discrimination so that you can fight back when necessary.

What to do when confronted with workplace retaliation

According to federal data, workplace retaliation is alarmingly common in California and across the United States. For instance, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported that it received 39,469 charges of retaliation in 2018, which accounted for over 50% of all complaints filed that year.

Workplace retaliation occurs when employers take adverse action against employees who report discrimination, harassment, or safety violations. Some examples of adverse action include wrongful termination, demotion, denying a promotion, verbal harassment or threats, and reducing pay or benefits. While these actions are prohibited under federal and California law, some employers still try to get away with it.

Goldman Sachs sued for discrimination by former employee

Generally speaking, employees in California can't be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation. A former Goldman Sachs employee says that he was terminated after making a discrimination complaint. The man was the leader of the company's LGBTQ network and openly gay. According to the former employee's lawsuit, poor marks were included in his personnel file by his superiors. It is claimed that these remarks were intended to serve as justification for his eventual termination.

An attorney for the plaintiff says that he had many years of outstanding service for the company prior to the incident. According to the former employee, he initially made a complaint after being taken off a conference call when managers claimed that he sounded too gay. In response to the lawsuit, Goldman said that it had a track record of being a diverse company.

How veterans are protected against on-the-job discrimination

Veterans in California are protected against job discrimination based on their military service in the same way that people are protected from discrimination based on race, national origin and other protected characteristics. There is also a law in place that allows them preferential treatment when it comes to federal employment.

The Uniformed Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 mandates that veterans must be given their jobs back that they had prior to being deployed, and employers cannot discriminate against them because of their military service. This applies to all employers of all sizes. Employers must offer accommodations to veterans who have disabilities as a result of their service or whose existing disabilities were exacerbated. In some cases, discrimination against veterans may be subtle. For example, an employer might ask whether the veteran has had counseling or treatment for PTSD. For people who are still in the reserves, an employer might question whether they expect to be deployed soon. This question may be illegal in the same way that employers are not supposed to ask employees or potential employees whether they plan to get pregnant.

How proposed age discrimination law affects California residents

California residents should be aware of a proposed law that could make it much easier for victims of workplace age discrimination to pursue monetary damages in court. While the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) has been proposed many times over the past decade, some analysts predict that it could be passed this year.

In 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court made the decision to make it much harder to prove age discrimination cases. The vote was close at 5-4, but employers were the winners, not victims of age discrimination. While older plaintiffs are still able to sue their employers after being demoted or terminated, they are currently required to show that age was the sole factor in why they lost their positions or jobs. This is not an easy feat and has led to many failed lawsuits. After all, the supreme court's decision permits employers to more easily argue that the plaintiff would have been fired regardless of his or her age.

Wage and hour violations at cable company show systemic abuse

A federal judge in California chose to reject a $7.5 million proposed settlement due to the employer's failure to plan any reforms to its payroll practices. The case involved technicians who installed cable television, telephones, internet and security services for Comcast. Their legal complaint detailed multiple violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The plaintiffs said that they were routinely denied overtime pay although they usually worked 10-hour shifts five or six days a week. Court filings also described management that forced workers to under-report their hours and include meal breaks that they were not allowed to take. Payroll records were non-compliant as well. The lawsuit asserted that the employer intentionally hid pay rates and refused to reimburse workers for expenses.

Was your termination legally justifiable?

There is a point at which relationships might break down between you and your employer. It is a simple fact of doing business: People sometimes lose their jobs. However, if you have a feeling that something was not quite right about your termination, you may find an ally in the California court system.

There are some situations in which termination could be a violation of your rights. When things become personal and a very specific way, your former employer could be liable in an unlawful termination suit. Here are some of the examples of situations that could mean you have a case.

EEOC complaint alleges religious discrimination at Amazon site

The workers in Amazon's facilities throughout North America are largely invisible to online shoppers in California. A new complaint received by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reveals that some workers allegedly face a hostile atmosphere on the job. The workers' rights group Muslim Advocates filed the complaint on behalf of three Muslim Somali women who claim to have suffered religious discrimination and retaliation.

According to the complaint, Amazon management at the facility disapproved of the three women taking time for prayers. The women said that praying would result in write-ups that could eventually lead to their termination. The women also alleged that management favored white workers with promotions and easier work duties while discriminating against Somali employees. When the women approached human resources with their complaints about unfair disciplinary write-ups, the company's investigation allegedly failed to identify any evidence to support their claims. One woman said that management retaliated against her for complaining with an additional write-up.

Genetic information claims may be pursued by the EEOC

It is generally not possible for an employer to use a person's genetic information to make an employment decision. This is true whether the company is in California or any other state. Employment decisions could include choosing whether to hire someone, terminate an individual or promote someone. If an individual believes that his or her genetic information has been misused, he or she can file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The organization will pursue claims based on Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, or GINA. However, few people have actually made genetic information claims, and they made up only 0.3% of all charges filed in 2018. Workers should know that they cannot be retaliated against at work or otherwise subject to a hostile workplace based on genetic information. Genetic information includes a worker's own medical history as well as the medical history of family members.

PayPal employee alleges gender discrimination

Generally speaking, companies around the country are not allowed to make employment decisions based on an employee's gender. A woman has filed a lawsuit against Northern California-based PayPal Holdings, Inc., claiming that she was passed over for a job because of travel requirements and the fact that she had a young child. However, she claims that she had previously lived in Europe and traveled internationally many times in the past.

The lawsuit states that she did not receive an interview for the position and that it was ultimately given to a male colleague who also had a child. That person had been under the plaintiff's supervision from 2012 to 2015, and the complaint says that he was not as qualified as she was. Furthermore, the complaint alleges that the woman's supervisor was not comfortable around women, which may have resulted in a man getting the promotion.

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