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Gay man sues former employer Goldman Sachs for discrimination

Some members of the LGBTQ community in California will recognize the pattern of discrimination allegedly experienced by a former employee of Goldman Sachs. According to his lawsuit, the man worked for eight years at the banking giant. He advanced to a vice president position at the age of only 27. He had been openly gay throughout his career and earned good performance reviews. This abruptly changed after he made formal complaints to the Employee Relations team at the company in 2018. His evaluations suddenly turned critical. According to court filings, the evaluations provided a manufactured reason for his dismissal.

The plaintiff had served as a leader for the company's internal LGBTQ group. His complaints involved his experiences of sexual orientation discrimination at work. He provided evidence of mistreatment. One incident described in his lawsuit resulted in his removal from a conference call because of his gay-sounding voice.

Age discrimination bill re-introduced to Congress

California residents who are old enough to suffer from age discrimination in the workplace should be aware of POWADA, the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act. This is a proposed law designed to make proving age discrimination in court much easier. One study by the Urban Institute found that 56% of older workers are forced out of their jobs before they can retire. Only one in 10 of those workers will make as much money at their new place of employment.

The U.S. Supreme Court sided with employers in 2009 by making it much more difficult for victims of discrimination to prove they were wrongfully demoted or terminated. Aged workers are still able to sue their employers for workplace discrimination; however, the Supreme Court's decision requires that plaintiffs prove that age was the sole factor in their termination or demotion. An employer could simply argue that the plaintiff would have been fired even if they were younger. The burden of proof currently lies solely on the plaintiff and creates a serious hardship since proving age as a sole factor is no easy feat.

Amazon employees file religious discrimination complaint

Three Amazon employees have filed a federal lawsuit against their employer for workplace discrimination and retaliation. Workers in California might want to know the details of the case as it raises issues of workers' rights that are applicable nationwide. The three employees, who are Muslim women, were working for an Amazon warehouse. They allegedly feared taking breaks to pray because they thought they would be issued write-ups. One of the women was so afraid, according to the complaint, that she broke her fast for Ramadan and stopped taking breaks for ablutions or even to use the restroom.

The complaint also alleges that the online retailer did not promote Muslim employees from East Africa and Somalia, and that it gave better assignments to white workers. The women claim to have been retaliated against by management after they joined a protest effort against the labor conditions at the Amazon warehouse.

Sexual harassment complaints continue to grow

Many employees in California and across the country continue to face serious problems with sexual harassment on the job. Unwanted sexual advances and other types of inappropriate behavior continue to rise, despite the emergence of the #MeToo movement and widespread media attention on the problem. Indeed, since allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against high-profile Hollywood executives hit major news, the number of federal complaints about sexual harassment on the job has escalated significantly.

In the 2018 fiscal year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 7,609 complaints about sexual harassment in the workplace, an increase of 13.6% over the prior year. At the same time, general reports of workplace discrimination and harassment of all types declined. This means that sexual harassment complaints formed a greater proportion of all federal filings. During the year, workers filed 76,418 complaints of workplace harassment for various protected reasons, making a nearly 10% drop. Surveys also show that more instances of sexual harassment and assault are being reported through internal company procedures as well. Still, EEOC officials said that only around one-fifth of all workers who experience sexual harassment on the job actually file a report. In most cases, people must file an EEOC claim before proceeding to a federal lawsuit for workplace discrimination.

Woman sues employer for persistent age discrimination

A California woman's long career at the Beverly Hills Department of Recreation and Parks came to a humiliating end according to her lawsuit. The 66-year-old had worked for the city since 1979 and earned a series of promotions until 2017 when she applied to be department director. This action proved to be a turning point that resulted in dwindling duties, reassignment ,and eventual job loss. Her court filings describe ongoing hostility at work that created a humiliating environment for her.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from the city for allegedly discriminating against her because of her age. Her allegations also include a failure to prevent harassment, wrongful termination and retaliation. Prior to applying for the open director's position, she had appeared to excel as a senior recreation supervisor who organized events at the Greystone Mansion and attracted high-profile sponsors. Although she had acted as the director informally for several months, her application was rebuffed. The city hired a 35-year-old former lifeguard with minimal experience managing recreational venues.

Gender pay gap still a problem in tech

Women workers at large and small tech companies in California and across the country continue to face serious concerns about pay discrimination. According to research, over 50 percent of women who work in the industry are paid less on average than their male co-workers. One recruitment firm reported that women may be offered lower salaries than men at 60 percent of the jobs on offer in the industry. The same survey of 2,600 tech workers reported pay differentials at 63 percent of jobs one year earlier.

After women learn that they are being paid less than male co-workers, the differences may be substantial. In 16 percent of cases, the salary differential was $20,000 or more. The pay gap became even more significant when race was taken into account as well. While there is an average pay gap of 3 percent between men and women, Hispanic women receive 9 percent less than white men at these companies. Black women receive 11 percent less than white men at the same firms. LGBT women also experienced elevated pay discrimination with an 8 percent pay gap.

Diverse TV writers experience workplace discrimination

Californians might believe that the entertainment industry is less likely to discriminate against workers based on their protected characteristics. However, a study reveals that workplace discrimination against diverse television workers is a pervasive problem.

The study was conducted by a group of TV writers and a therapist to examine how writers who have disabilities, are people of color, are LGBTQ, or who are women or nonbinary are treated in the workplace. The report reveals that 64 percent of the diverse writers experienced discrimination, bias, or harassment at work. An additional 58 percent reported that they were targeted for microaggressions at their jobs.

Federal lawsuit addresses discrimination in tech

A California tech company is facing a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Labor. According to the complaint, discrimination caused black, Asian and female employees at Oracle to lose $400 million in wages over four years. The federal department began investigating the company in 2014 and initially filed its claim in 2017. It says that the software company used two primary mechanisms that enforced discriminatory practices in the workplace. In the first place, it based the pay of workers newly hired on their previous salaries rather than market rates, skills or achievement. This then limited their ability to increase their salaries throughout their careers.

In addition, the Department of Labor accused Oracle of workplace discrimination in its hiring practices from colleges and universities. The federal lawsuit said that of 500 people hired over a three-year period from the recent graduate school, 90 percent were Asian, despite the fact that the hiring pool was only 65 percent Asian. In addition, Oracle's preference was targeted to Asian visa holders, whose authorization to work was dependent on Oracle, rather than Asian Americans. Because these workers had to work for Oracle to remain in the U.S., their salaries and those of other workers could be suppressed.

Nursing mothers face discrimination on the job

Breastfeeding discrimination can have severe health and financial consequences for nursing mothers in California and across the country. One recent study indicates that up to 66 percent of nursing mothers who faced discrimination in the workplace lost their jobs as a result. The health consequences were also often significant, causing serious infections, ongoing pain, lost milk supply and earlier weaning or formula feeding as a result of the workplace environment. Despite legislation designed to provide protection for nursing mothers on the job, many women continue to face a lack of accommodation and other forms of discrimination for breastfeeding at work.

The Break Time for Nursing Mothers law, which is designed to protect mothers, excludes a full 25 percent of working women. It can also be difficult for nursing mothers to enforce their rights in court or understand the sections of the law that are being violated at work. Many women may fear further retaliation, especially when they are already being mistreated on the job. This form of workplace discrimination can include denial of access to necessary breaks or failure to provide a clean, private space where mothers can pump breast milk.

Advocacy group to focus on sexual harassment in healthcare

California residents may have followed the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein in late 2017 and the #MeToo movement they gave rise to. In January 2018, a group of entertainment industry figures including prominent writers and actors founded a group called Time's Up to address gender-based workplace discrimination. The organization also funds litigation filed against employers by workers who have been discriminated against or harassed due to their gender.

A substantial number of people who have contacted Time's Up about these matters are healthcare workers, and the organization responded on Feb. 28 by announcing that Time's Up Healthcare had been formed to focus specifically on this issue. In a press release, one of the founders of Time's Up pointed out that women account for only 10 percent of healthcare chief executives despite making up 80 percent of the 13 million-person workforce.

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