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Former manager files wrongful termination suit against district

Employees generally believe that their employers will treat them with fairness. If that doesn't happen, employment law safeguards may support them. A California worker who believes that he or she was fired as a means of retaliation or punishment may have grounds to file a wrongful termination claim against the former employer. This is what one former general manager for a water district says happened to him after he tried to speak out about the unfair treatment of his female co-workers.

According to the civil claim the former manager filed, the board of directors for the water district allegedly fired the manager because he complained that the chief financial officer was harassing the two female office workers. The suit says that the women complained both verbally and in writing about the CFO's conduct. The CFO is also accused of working to have employees he didn't like fired, including both of the managers who served before and after the plaintiff.

Steps to take when subjected to workplace discrimination

Experiencing unfair and unjust treatment at work can be a stressful experience that could affect a person's life in various ways. Those who are subjected to such treatment may wish to take every possible measure to protect their legal rights, but they might not always be certain how to achieve this goal. Individuals in California who encounter similar challenges could benefit from seeking advice on the next steps to take after being subjected to workplace discrimination.

Experts indicate that one of the first steps to take to address such issues is to begin keeping thorough documentation of the situation. This step could involve taking detailed notes of incidents involving unjust treatment and printing or saving emails and screen shots that exhibit such behavior. While a person may feel that the next logical step is to take this information directly to the human resources department, this might not always be the best option.

Discrimination may also cause serious health effects

When women in California face discrimination on the job, the financial impact may be immediately visible. Women may not be hired for jobs, they may face termination more quickly, or they may lose out on promotions for which they were qualified. This can quickly add up to thousands of dollars lost due to gender discrimination. However, there are other serious effects that can accompany workplace discrimination. Many victims' mental and even physical health may suffer, especially if they deal with stress due to retaliation or complaints that are not taken seriously by their employers.

The health effects of workplace discrimination also may affect people differently depending on their wealth and social position. According to various studies, around 10% of American women reported experiencing or witnessing gender discrimination on the job. However, while 13% of women with masters' or doctoral degrees reported mistreatment or sexual harassment, only 7% of women with less than a high school diploma reported the same. There may be a number of reasons for the disparity. Women with less formal education may be more likely to be employed in primarily female, caregiving-type positions, while women with higher education may be more likely to work in male-dominated industries.

Glassdoor releases data regarding discrimination at work

According to Glassdoor, there has been a 30% increase in job listings related to diversity and inclusion since 2018. However, companies in California and throughout the country still have issues when it comes to treating their workers properly. A Glassdoor survey found that 60% of respondents had either been victims of workplace harassment or saw others victimized on the job. This is in spite of the fact that roughly 75% of companies that took part in the survey said that they had a diverse workforce.

Research has shown that workers of all ages, genders and sexual orientations can be victims of harassment. Men were more likely to report that they were victims of ageism or knew those who were discriminated against for being part of the LGBTQ+ community. Overall, 45% of the respondents said that they had experienced ageism at work or knew others who had been treated differently because of their age.

Sexual harassment more common among women in leadership roles

When many people hear about workplace sexual harassment, they tend to think of a powerful man mistreating a women who works for him. However, a study has found that even women in powerful positions can be victims of sexual harassment on the job. In fact, women in positions of power in California and around the country may be even more likely to be victims of harassment. This is because managers interact with a larger number of people, which provides additional opportunities to be mistreated.

The study from the Swedish Institute for Social Research gathered data from workers in Sweden, the United States, and Japan. Researchers asked respondents to say whether they had experienced a variety of behaviors that could be considered sexual harassment. They were also asked whether they believed that they had been victims of sexual harassment at work. Past research has indicated that people are less likely to report abuse at work if the question is phrased in a subjective manner.

Appeals court finds evidence of wage discrimination

Employers in California can get into legal trouble if they are paying a female employee less than a male employee who performs the same type of work. That's because unequal pay for equal work is considered gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Recently, a federal appeals court concluded that there are other paths to sue for pay discrimination besides unequal pay for equal work.

In the case of Lenzi v. Systemax, Inc., et al., a woman who worked as a vice president executive claimed that she was paid less than male vice president executives at the same company. The case was originally dismissed, however, because the plaintiff could not show evidence that her duties were similar enough to the duties of the higher-paid male executives.

EEOC wins $4.4 million from Uber for sexual harassment victims

Uber Technologies Inc. has been in the eye of the storm over sexual harassment at technology companies in California. After investigating complaints that began arising in 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that it fined Uber $4.4 million. Investigators determined that the company had allowed a workplace culture that inflicted sexual harassment on female employees and retaliated against workers who complained.

The company has agreed to pay the fine and observe other conditions of the settlement. Uber plans to look for employees who have been accused by co-workers of sexual harassment multiple times. Managers who fail to respond to complaints could also be subject to discipline. The money collected by the EEOC's fine will be divided among people who worked at the company after Jan. 1, 2014, and were the targets of sexual harassment or retaliation.

Chipotle to pay $95,000 to settle sexual harassment claim

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has announced that a man who complained about sexual harassment at a California fast-food restaurant will be paid $95,000 in damages and back pay. The federal agency filed a lawsuit on the man's behalf against Chipotle Mexican Grill in 2017. The Newport Beach-based chain has also agreed to hold anti-harassment training sessions at 27 restaurants in the San Jose area, according to the Dec. 3 announcement.

The man claimed in the sexual harassment lawsuit that the female general manager of a San Jose Chipotle restaurant groped him repeatedly and sent him photographs of herself clothed only in lingerie shortly after he was transferred to the location in April 2015. He was 22 years of age at the time of the alleged harassment. He says that he was hired by the fast-food chain after graduating from high school. The lawsuit suggests that the woman treated other male employees in the same way.

Employees can fight back against workplace discrimination

Employees in California continue to face discrimination on the job, despite laws that prohibit the practice at federal, state and local levels. Employers may not discriminate in hiring, promotion or termination on the basis of protected characteristics, which include race, sex, disability, religion, age and in many cases sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, sexual harassment is also prohibited in the workplace. At the federal level, affected employees must show that their jobs were directly under threat or that they were subject to severe or pervasive conduct, whether a single extreme incident or an ongoing offensive climate.

However, state laws often provide a higher level of protection. The Omnibus Sexual Harassment bill in California provides greater rights for employees subject to sexual harassment on the job. In addition, workers also have the right to be free of retaliation for reporting harassment and discrimination. Despite this, many employees fear making a complaint about this type of misconduct because they worry that their employer will find an excuse to terminate them or demote them to a lower position.

Study says workplace discrimination still prevalent

A survey by online company review site Glassdoor indicates that 61% of employees in California and across the country have experienced or witnessed discriminatory behavior in the workplace. The study included more than 1,100 employees and asked about discrimination that was based on gender, race, LGBTQ identification or age. Nationwide, 42% of those who responded said they had witnessed racism at work, and 45% said they'd witnessed discrimination based on age.

Breaking down the data further, male employees in the U.S. are more likely than female employees to experience or witness discrimination in the workplace. Fifty percent of the men who responded said they'd experienced or witnessed age discrimination, compared to 38% of women. Thirty-eight percent of men said they'd experienced or witnessed discrimination based on LGBTQ identification, compared to only 28% of women. Additionally, younger employees are more likely to have experiences of discriminatory behavior at work, with more than half of workers between 18 and 34 years old saying they've seen gender discrimination occur. For workers aged 55 years or older, that percentage was 29%.

  • Martindale-Hubbell | AV Preeminent Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence 2019
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