Articles Posted in Employment Discrimination

A case out of Puerto Rico recently shows the challenge that persons with disabilities have at work as well as trying to show they have faced discrimination in the workplace.

In Ramos-Echevarria v. Pichis Inc., a worker who suffers from epilepsy claimed that his employer discriminated against him because he was denied a full-time position. He claims it was because of his disability, but two courts have ruled against him.
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There are both state and federal protections for people with disabilities in California. Under disability discrimination laws in Newport Beach, workers who are otherwise qualified for a job but who suffer from a physical or mental disability can’t be denied employment simply because of the impairment.

And California residents also have federal protection from disability discrimination as well. Private employers, state and local governments, and others aren’t allowed to discriminate against the disabled, including hiring, firing, compensation, advancement, training and other areas of employment.

In this difficult economy, our Irvine employment lawyers feel for those who are rejected for jobs based on their disability. We will stand by their side and demand justice.

In this case, Ramos-Echevarria suffers from epilepsy, and according to court documents has nine to 16 “episodes” a week where he will see an “aura” before his body convulses for eight to 15 seconds. After that, his cognitive abilities are impaired and sometimes for a period after.

He was a part-time kitchen assistant since 1999, assisting with food preparation. He had a similar position since 2002 with another restaurant. Between three and six times a year his seizures cause him to leave work, but most of the time he stabilizes himself until they pass.

When he was first hired — he told the company about his illness on his application — his boss fired him after his first episode. He was told to bring in a doctor’s note stating that he can work despite the illness and he got one and was re-hired. Since then, he has never been denied medical assistance.

He claimed in his lawsuit that he has asked for full-time work but was told that he couldn’t get full-time work because of his condition. Others were hired after him and got full-time work while he still was stuck in a part-time role, despite his reviews being favorable.

The appeals court ruled that he failed to show that he has a disability within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act and therefore his claim should be dismissed. They agreed with the lower court ruling and dismissed his case.

Employment law is a complex area that must be handled by an experienced lawyer. While these laws provide protection for workers, there are specific elements that must be met in order to show that a person has faced discrimination for a disability. A Santa Ana employment lawyer can help.
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As the California Employment Lawyer Blog reported recently, older Americans seeking jobs are facing discrimination from employers who refuse to put them on equal footing with younger job seekers.

As the New York Daily News and The New York Times report, those who are unemployed are also facing an unprecedented form of unemployment discrimination in Santa Ana and nationwide.
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More and more job ads have phrases like “must be employed” and “if unemployed, don’t apply,” which are clearly discriminatory. But most states don’t include the unemployed in a protected class along with disability, gender, sex and others that cannot be the basis for hiring and firing practices.

Santa Ana employment lawyers have seen more and more jobless turned away simply because they don’t have a job. And with employment so high in California — hovering around 12 percent — odds are this practice is rampant in our area of the country. And it has to stop.

Businesses certainly have the right to hire the best candidates and if they believe one candidate is better than another, they should be able to hire that person. But, they shouldn’t turn down people simply for not having a job. Millions of people are unemployed right now and their skills aren’t necessarily the reason they were let go.

They may have performed well, but their branch or particular department overall didn’t. The boss may have had an issue with one employee and chose to keep another when times got tight. It’s possible that the unemployed worker did nothing wrong, and now he or she is facing another uphill battle.

New York state lawmakers have already pushed to include the unemployed in a protected list of those who can’t face discrimination for jobs. New York Daily News reports that a city councilman is pushing to add the unemployed to a protected class citywide as well.

The New York Times reported in July that New Jersey lawmakers had passed a law that bans job ads for companies that bar unemployed workers from applying. That law went into effect in June.

Let’s hope California lawmakers are paying attention. Discrimination comes in many forms and when applying for jobs, every job seeker should get every opportunity to succeed. As tough as the economy is right now and how desperate people are for work, the unemployed must not face even greater challenges from those who want to boot them off the unemployment line.

Every area of employment discrimination had to start somewhere. Whether discrimination based on religion, race, gender, age or sexual orientation, there were people who faced that discrimination and took the issue to the courts to get it banned. Now is the time for unemployment discrimination to end. People are hurting and they need jobs. Businesses shouldn’t have another unjust way to weed out prospective employees.
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A recent MSNBC article looks at the career of Andy Rooney, famed CBS “60 Minutes” correspondent who worked there for more than 60 years.

It’s a feat many people — young and old — can’t imagine. At a time when Rooney recently retired at age 92, many older workers face age discrimination in Los Angeles and elsewhere.
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Age discrimination while illegal, happens every day. In some cases, potential workers aren’t hired because employers think they are too old to adapt to the job. In other cases, older employees are not offered job improvements or promotions because the company would rather pay to train younger employees. The younger employee can be perceived as a future manager, even if he or she is not as qualified as the more experienced, older person.

This is where an experienced Orange County employment lawyer comes in. Consulting with a lawyer to discuss your case and look at your options is a smart move before storming into your boss’s office and getting into an argument or filing a complaint. Having an objective outsider look at your case can be beneficial.

According to the article, there aren’t many Andy Rooneys anymore. The number of long-term older unemployed Americans is growing. Many have lost their jobs and are having a difficult time finding others. They believe their age is a big factor.

Many companies view age discrimination as acceptable and not against the law, but it is. They believe that older workers are less desirable and therefore they don’t hire them.

According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission statistics, the number of age discrimination complaints has increased from about 16,000 in 2006 to more than 23,000 in 2010.

In one recent age discrimination case, technology firm 3M was ordered to pay $3 million because it illegally laid off millions of workers who were over 45 years old in favor of younger workers they planned on grooming for management positions.

Experts told MSNBC that perception is the real issue. Some companies perceive older workers as being closer to retirement and having a bigger financial cushion, so they don’t feel as bad laying them off. Others believe that older workers are targeted during large-scale layoffs for no reason other than their age.

Some analysts said younger workers and older workers are relatively equal in terms of adapting to new ideas and being trained. Younger workers — especially women — are costliest because of pregnancy. Younger workers take more time off work, and older workers take longer to recover from injuries.

Some AARP statistics from August:

-The average time of unemployment for workers 55 and over was 52.4 weeks, while it is 37.4 weeks for younger jobless
-More than half of older unemployed Americans — 54.9 percent — were “long-term unemployed” — 27 weeks or more
Many older workers are discouraged because they are finding few opportunities for work, even with more experience and a better track record of employment.
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The saga between Wal-Mart and potentially 1 million female employees who believe there is widespread discrimination continues as the giant retailer agreed to give the plaintiffs an extra 90 days to file their cases, Bloomberg reports.

California Employment Lawyer Blog recently reported on the situation, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes that the class-action lawsuit against the company couldn’t proceed because the plaintiffs haven’t shown justification for class-action status.

Orange County discrimination happens every day, even though there are state and federal laws preventing it. Sadly, workers sometimes either don’t know they are facing discrimination or accept it as a part of the job in exchange for being gainfully employed. If you face discrimination on the job, consult with a San Bernardino Employment Lawyer. It’s possible that some advice can help you clear up problems at work or that filing a lawsuit is necessary to sort out the problem.
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The Supreme Court decided 5-4 that the plaintiffs, which could be more than a million female workers, past and present, hadn’t shown the company operated under a “general policy of discrimination,” according to justices. The court ruled that they haven’t shown that Wal-Mart, given its significant size of more than 4,300 stores, has a policy that every manager followed to discriminate against women.

The issue was whether 1.6 million current and former female employees could make a unified claim of systematic discrimination over the last decade, CNN reported. The plaintiffs alleged women were paid less than men and sought back pay and punitive damages. The lawsuit originated in Pittsburg, California, which is outside Oakland, by Betty Dukes, a greeter at a Wal-Mart store there.

While the Supreme Court decision broke up the possibility of a class-action lawsuit, it left open the possibility that more than 1 million past and present female workers could file individual cases against the retailer. A class action lawsuit means a group of plaintiffs who have similar claims against one defendant file one lawsuit jointly, as opposed to filing individual lawsuits.

The group lawsuit was first filed in 2001, Bloomberg reports, and the filing of any new individual gender-bias claims by women covered under the group case was put on hold. Now that the case has been disbanded, the hold has been lifted. By law, a plaintiff generally has 180 days from the date of discrimination to file a lawsuit. If a state or local agency enforces a law that prohibits discrimination on the same basis, a claimant has 300 days.

While some may think that the giant retailer facing potentially more than 1 million lawsuits is shocking, consider the statistics from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency responsible for enforcing federal discrimination laws.

In 2010, there were 99,922 charges of discrimination nationwide, the highest on record. That’s a 25 percent increase in the last decade. The complaints relate to a person’s race, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability and other factors. While a small percentage of those charges will ultimately be considered justified, there are many workers who believe they aren’t being treated fairly. If you are one of them, call for a free consultation.
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A Houston-area woman has sued her former employer for age discrimination, alleging she was told to dye her gray hair and was fired after refusing to do so, the Houston Chronicle reports.

The Employment Law Team of Orange County is committed to helping employees who face discrimination for any reason, whether it’s age, gender, race, sexual orientation or other factors. Penalizing someone for anything but a poor job performance is unlawful and mustn’t go unpunished.
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According to the newspaper, the woman worked as an escrow officer and branch manager at Capital Title of Texas after working her way up from receptionist, but was told in 2009 to dye her hair and wear younger-looking clothing, but she refused. She was replaced by a woman 10 years younger. Her job at the time was to close real estate transactions, requiring coordination among buyers, sellers, lenders, insurance companies and real estate agents. Her main account was a builder that generated 35 to 40 closings a month.

The lawsuit also claims that because the company was relocating to new digs in an upscale area of Houston, her bosses wanted her to wear “younger fancy suits” and lots of fancy jewelry.

Her former boss said no such discrimination occurred, but that she was replaced because one of its customers no longer wanted to do business with her. The allegations were called “completely baseless and preposterous” But the woman says she was never told of any performance complaints when she was fired.

While employees are able to set guidelines for the appearance of employees and take actions such as requiring uniforms, combed hair and tucked-in shirts, they can’t take adverse actions against an employee based on age, sex, race, religion, national origin or disability. The woman has since taken a job at $18,000 per year less than she was making.

While it sounds obscene that an employer would instruct a woman to dye her hair in order to look younger, it does happen. Employers are always looking for optimum performance out of their employees and sometimes they take the idea too far.

Companies aren’t allowed to require their workers to change their physical appearance in order to satisfy some kind of standard they’ve created. In this case, if the facts are true, it appears the woman was told to look nicer, which has no reflection on her ability to perform the job. It will be interesting to see if her company is able to prove any kind of documented performance issues occurred before she was asked to dye her hair.

Older employees who are fired simply because of their age, or those who aren’t hired in the first place because employers falsely believe they won’t be able to adapt to new technologies, can face emotional setbacks and a lack of earning potential in the future if they face discrimination. Finding a job is difficult right now for anyone and perhaps especially so for older workers. So, those who are unjustly terminated or passed over for opportunities and promotions should take action today.
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The U.S. Supreme Court in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. V. Dukes recently ruled that a class-action lawsuit made of 1.5 million female Wal-Mart workers can’t proceed because the plaintiffs haven’t shown justification for class-action status.

Orange County Employment Lawyers believe this is another slap in the face to workers who stand up to their companies over discrimination issues. Discrimination in California, whether because of gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation or other reasons, is unacceptable and unlawful. If you have been discriminated against or retaliated against at work, call our law firm today.
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In the Wal-Mart case, the Supreme Court decided 5-4 that the plaintiffs, which could be more than a million female workers, past and present, hadn’t shown the company operated under a “general policy of discrimination,” according to justices. The court ruled that they haven’t shown that Wal-Mart, given its significant size of more than 4,300 stores, has a policy that every manager followed to discriminate against women.

The issue was whether 1.6 million current and former female employees could make a unified claim of systematic discrimination over the last decade, CNN reported. The plaintiffs alleged women were paid less than men and sought back pay and punitive damages. The lawsuit originated in Pittsburg, California, which is outside Oakland, by Betty Dukes, a greeter at a Wal-Mart store there.

While this is discouraging news, the justices only ruled on whether the original lawsuit can be handled as a class action, leaving open the possibility that more than a million individual cases will be filed in courts across the country, including in Orange County.

Women have been fighting for equal pay for years and large corporations are sometimes guilty of discriminating against people based on many different factors. These types of work situations can be difficult to handle in the workplace and shouldn’t be tolerated. They must be fought.

Of the more than 99,000 charges of discrimination tallied by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2010, more than 29,000 were based on sex discrimination. That accounted for 29 percent.

That’s a large number of cases based on gender, or sex, discrimination. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act as well as the federal Title VII statute provide protection for employees. The laws also apply to people applying for jobs. Companies aren’t allowed to show unlawful favoritism against protected groups of employees.

If you noticed a pattern of a particular race of people, employees from a certain national origin or workers of the same gender being treated unfairly, it’s possible that discrimination is occurring at your workplace. If you have been passed over for a promotion for someone less qualified, it’s possible that you yourself have faced discrimination.

Laws protect people from discrimination and from retaliation for people who stand up to the companies that are doing wrong. But it often requires the threat of legal action or actually filing lawsuits to get businesses to change their ways. So, don’t attempt to fight these injustices on your own. Be backed up by a law firm dedicated to protecting your rights.
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The California State Senate Judiciary Committee recently voted in favor of a bill that would strengthen employment, housing and other civil rights protections to all Californians, especially those discriminated against based on gender identity and expression, the San Francisco Bay Times reports.

Discrimination can come in all aspects of life, whether it be in public or in the workplace. Our Orange County Employment Law Attorneys are dedicated to fighting with people who feel they have been treated unfairly based on a myriad of factors, including their gender, race, sexual orientation or age. California employment law is complex and applies to many types of problematic behavior, so if you feel you have been wronged, call today.
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AB 887 passed the recent committee and now must be passed by the California State Assembly. It may reach the senate floor in the coming weeks.

According to the news article, the bill takes existing protections based on gender identity and expression and enumerates them as protected categories in nondiscrimination laws. More than 100 cities nationwide already provide protection for gender identity and expression.

Anaheim discrimination at work is unacceptable, regardless of the reason and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title VII provide protection for employees and job applicants. These protections are designed to make sure that people don’t face discrimination of any kind.

These state laws make sure a company doesn’t deny promotions to, hire someone less qualified than or retaliate against employees. Workers are protected from termination, adverse actions, harassment and retaliation based on race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical conditions, sex marital status, pregnancy or childbirth, sexual orientation or age.

Sometimes, discrimination at work is overt and out in the open — such as a boss joking in front of many people that he or she didn’t hire someone because they are old and probably wouldn’t be willing to learn new computer techniques. Other times, closed-door meetings or more covert or systemic biases prevent a minority from advancing. These injustices sometimes require whistleblowers — people willing to step up to protect the rights of others.

Unfortunately, discrimination and retaliation, whatever the rest, isn’t that uncommon. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there were 99,922 complaints of discrimination in 2010. That’s up 24 percent from 1997 and is an all-time high in the United States.

It is sad, but for a country that prides itself on equal protection and individual rights, there are many cases of discrimination these days. Take, for instance, a recent report by The Los Angeles Times that the Los Angeles Police Department has paid out more than $18 million in jury verdicts and lawsuit settlements regarding workplace injustices such as sexual harassment and racial discrimination.

No company or business is immune to bad decisions and deliberate inequalities that plague our society. If you or a loved one believes you have been treated unfairly at work or by not being hired for a job, call our firm today. The sooner we are able to assess your case and take action, the better.
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The Los Angeles Police Department has been slapped with more than 200 workplace discrimination lawsuits in the last decade and has paid out more than $18 million, with more than 100 that still haven’t been resolved, The Los Angeles Times reports. The lawsuits stem from claims of sexual harassment, racial discrimination, promotion denials and other workplace transgressions.

The Orange County employment attorneys are ready to defend you if your boss, company or co-workers have harassed you, treated you differently or kept you from promotions because of bias or other forms of intentional discrimination.
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According to The Times, more than a dozen officers have won million-dollar-plus jury verdicts or settlements in the last decade. Dozens more officers have won five- or six-figure paydays. From 2005 to 2010, more than 250 lawsuits were filed by officers. The city paid out more than $18 million in about 45 of those cases. The city won 50 cases and the rest are pending.

As previously detailed in California Employment Lawyer Blog, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office recently had to pay out about $900,000 for a sexual harassment claim.

Sexual harassment in California can show itself in many different forms. It applies to men and women and can refer to a hostile work environment, sexual advances or comments, retaliation for reporting harassment, requiring sexual favors for a job and other examples.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it received nearly 31,000 complaints of on-the-job harassment in 2010, which resulted in almost $100 million in payouts.

You may not be a Los Angeles police officer, but discrimination happens more often than you think. You can be discriminated against based on your gender, age, race, sexual orientation, national origin or a host of other factors. Sometimes, discrimination is subtle and goes unnoticed. Sometimes it happens in meetings and behind closed doors. Other forms, such as unwanted sexual advances at work or requests for sexual favors, are blatant.

All are unlawful forms of discrimination and require swift action. If you feel your employer has discriminated against you or allowed co-workers to harass you, don’t hesitate to call. These types of cases require much research and review of documents, so get started today by calling for a free consultation.
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Former General Manager of the Los Angeles Clippers continues his fight against the team in a Los Angeles race and age-discrimination lawsuit. Baylor claims he was “positioned to take responsibility for the [team’s] losses,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

With the recent downfall in the economy companies continue to downsize veteran help in favor of cheaper labor and look for other ways to save money — which may include paying a woman less for the same job. Our San Bernardino employment lawyers are seeing an increase in cases involving age, race and sex discrimination in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. Consulting an attorney is highly recommended when an employee believes he or she is facing discrimination in the workplace. Too often, employees ignore these actions and suffer without seeking justice and proper compensation.
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Clippers officials claim that Baylor resigned in 2008 after being their GM for 22 years. But Baylor claims that he was unjustly cut from the team because of his race and age, as we reported in our previous California Employment Blog about the case. In addition to his age discrimination suit against the Clippers, Baylor is also seeking compensation for his claim of being underpaid as a general manager of an NBA team.

“The Clippers already had a reputation as a horrible franchise” when Baylor, a former Lakers star, took over the Clippers player-personnel duties in 1986, Alvin J. Pittman said, Baylor’s attorney. “Whereas the Lakers had ownership showing an interest in winning, Mr. Baylor accepted a position that was challenging, a team that has a tradition of losing and unwilling to pay or re-sign key players,” said the LA Times.

Former GM Baylor, 76, is still claiming he was a victim of age discrimination, while the Clippers continue to deny the allegations. During a hearing, a memo was shown to the jury of seven men and five women. The memo, written by current team President Andy Roeser, stating, “Elgin’s not getting any younger.”

Baylor was named NBA Executive of the Year in 2005-06 when the team reached the semifinals for the first time since the 1975-76 season. The NBA is also named in the lawsuit, as it alleges the league condoned the discrimination by virtue of knowing the general manager salaries of other teams in the league. Baylor claims he was underpaid, making roughly $350,000 a year which is much less than other GM’s.

Discrimination in the workplace is a serious offense with consequences that affect all parties. It is important to consult an experienced attorney when it comes to fighting for your rights in the workplace and protecting the financial well-being of you and your family.
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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received more workplace discrimination complaints last year than at any time in the agency’s history.

Our Riverside employment lawyers understand how important it is for an employee to protect his or her rights, especially given the current economic environment. Employers have spent several years reducing costs, cutting staff, downsizing, and making other moves aimed at improving the bottom line. Employees who are wrongfully terminated may face a double-edge sword: Trouble finding a comparable position because of the economic climate, as well as the ramifications of not being able to use a previous employer as a positive reference.

The EEOC reports all major types of bias complaints increased, including those under Title VII, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination and Employment Act (ADEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Laws are in place to protect employees against sex discrimination, age discrimination, race discrimination and discrimination based on disabilities. However, it is incumbent upon them to seek the advice of an experienced attorney in order to protect their rights. Additionally, employees are protected from discrimination based on national origin. In 2010, they were also protected under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act for the first time — 201 charges were filed under that act.

For the first time, complaints of retaliation surpassed race-based complaints as the most-frequently filed charge. Race-based charges have been the most frequently filed charges since the EEOC began operation in 1965.

In all, the EEOC filed 250 lawsuits and settled 104,999 charges. It collected more than $404 million from employers, the most ever obtained administratively in a single year.

Total Charges in 2010: 99,922
Race: 35,890
Sex: 29,029
National Origin: 11,304
Religion: 3,790
Retaliation: 36,258
Age: 23,264
Disability: 25,165
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