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San Fernando Valley Employment Law Blog

5 examples of potential gender discrimination

It's 2018. In theory, men and women should get equal treatment at work. Gender discrimination is illegal. Employers must treat everyone fairly and be respectful at every turn.

In reality, this does not always happen. Maybe you have seen it at your work. Despite two decades of employment, you never feel equal to your coworkers. You never feel like you have all of the same opportunities. You always feel like people take your gender into account, rather than looking at you as another employee.

Employment law and sexual harassment training

Sexual harassment is unfortunately common in California and in other states. The #MeToo movement has brought national media attention to a problem that has existed for many years. Experts say that one of the best ways for companies to prevent sexual harassment is to train their employees, especially supervisors who interact with employees frequently.

The EEOC developed a report on sexual harassment in 2016. The report recommended three areas of training: civility in the workplace, bystander intervention and employee education.

Facebook accused of discrimination in job ads

A gender discrimination complaint was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that Facebook and others have used the social media platform to post biased job advertisements. Specifically, a group of women who use Facebook claim that certain job ads were targeted so that they did not appear to women on the site. Rather, the help wanted ads were shown only to men. California employees and people looking for jobs might be entitled to claim damages if they've been discriminated against during the hiring process.

The claimants allege that not displaying employment ads to women violates the provisions of the Civil Rights Act. The Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against job seekers or employees on the basis of race, gender or other protected characteristics. The Communications Workers of America and the American Civil Liberties Union both offered support to the EEOC complaint.

Court approves $12.5 million claim of transgender worker in Woodbridge bankruptcy case

A transgender worker who was mistreated and ultimately fired by Woodbridge Group because she was transgender has been awarded $12.5 million. The employee, Kaila Alana Loyola, worked at Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC as a document processor. During that time, her supervisor, Lianna Balayan, did research on the internet to learn the woman's birth name and background. When she discovered that the employee was transgender, she began referring to her by her male birthname and repeatedly subjected her to cruel jokes, mockery and scorn. Company owner and President, Robert Shapiro, instructed Ms. Balayan, "no more hiring trannies." The employee was fired after ninety days of employment.

Man at Google data center sues employer for sexual harassment

Google LLC is already the subject of two lawsuits in California that accuse the company of gender discrimination and tolerating harassment of female employees. A new lawsuit emerging from one of the company's out-of-state data centers provides an example of alleged sexual harassment against a male employee. The 63-year-old man filed a legal complaint alleging that he was wrongfully terminated after complaining about the sexual harassment that he experienced.

The man worked at the location for four years. His court filings detail experiences like a supervisor unzipping his pants in front of him, sexually explicit conversations among co-workers and the presence of a sex toy at work. He feared retaliation if he reported the behavior. When his supervisor began to rate his work performance poorly, he sought legal advice and made a formal complaint to his employer in April. Google spent two months investigating his allegations. Upon completion of the investigation, he was fired. A human resources person said that his allegations were false because the supervisor was not gay.

Sexual harassment in the broadcasting industry

Sexual harassment has been in the news in California recently, continuing the #MeToo movement. The social awareness surrounding the issue has inspired many people to come forward about their experiences.

Many cases featured on the news have involved well-known personalities in the broadcasting industry. One case in the early 2000s involved sexually explicit content featured on radio programs. A female broadcaster filed a lawsuit alleging that a coworker referred to her and her appearance in a sexually degrading manner. She eventually left the show after her supervisor refused to take action to stop the harassing comments.

Can an employer terminate an injured or disabled employee because their 12 weeks of FMLA leave expired?

The short answer is, "no." An employee cannot terminate a disabled or injured employee just because their FMLA leave expires. At that point, the question becomes whether continuation of the leave beyond 12 weeks is a reasonable accommodation for a disability. In other words, if it doesn't pose an undue hardship on the employer, then the employee must be allowed sufficient time to recover and return to work, with or without further accommodations.

Employers can't use workers' pregnancies against them

California has some of the strongest labor laws in place in the nation. Both at the federal and state level, workers in our state enjoy protections that workers in most other states can only dream of having.

But that doesn't mean that some companies don't attempt to skirt state and federal statutes and drop the hammer on employees.

Transgender rights are Human Rights: An employment lawyer's perspective

Violence and discrimination against transgender people cannot be tolerated. But, unfortunately, we live in a world where ignorance, fear of the unknown, and discomfort with our own sexuality, has led to cruelty and abuse directed at one of the most vulnerable segments of society. In the last few years, transgender and gender nonconforming people have become more visible. Yet, at at the same time, transgender people are still not fully accepted and understood, and their visibility has made them targets for abuse, discrimination and hostility.

Highlighting sexual harassment in the scientific community

While Hollywood is in the spotlight for its sexual harassment issues, movie stars in California are not the only ones who have to deal with it. Those in the scientific community have asked the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to do more to stop harassment within its ranks. It specifically asks that those who are honored by the AAAS to be stripped of their awards if they are found to be engaged in harassing behavior.

A study found that 58 percent of women faculty and staff members at academic institutions have been victims of sexual harassment. The study was conducted by the The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Each year 15 people are chosen by the AAAS to take part in the prestigious Leshner Fellowship. Its goal is to foster collaboration between scientists and the general public.

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