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Orange County Employment Law Blog

Woman sues former employer for pregnancy discrimination

A California woman is suing her former employer for allegedly firing her for becoming pregnant. Ironically, the employer provides preconception and prenatal testing services for women who hope to become pregnant.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff worked as a senior manager of content marketing at Natera, which is based in San Carlos. However, she said things changed as soon as she told her employer she was pregnant. First, the company told her she would no longer be part of the managing staff. A male executive then asked her to conduct undercover research by submitting to a blood test at a competing company. After she went on maternity leave, she said she was demoted. When she complained about the demotion to human resources, she claims she was fired.

Age discrimination still prevalent in the workplace

Even though it is illegal for employers in California to discriminate against employees on the basis of age, this type of prejudicial treatment still occurs regularly in the workplace. However, just 3 percent of older adults who experience age discrimination file a complaint against their employer, according to research from AARP.

Although it is difficult to determine the prevalence of age discrimination in the workplace, studies estimate that up to 60 percent of workers age 45 or older have experienced it. Other studies have shown that the vast majority of older workers say that discriminatory behavior is common. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stated that the number of age discrimination charges has continued to rise. Age discrimination is particularly prevalent in certain industries, such as the tech industry in Silicon Valley. In fact, it was found that chances of getting hired in Silicon Valley sharply decreased once a worker turned 30.

Worker claims she was terminated for following public record laws

California employees may be interested to learn that the former head of the City of San Diego's Public Records Department claimed in a lawsuit that she was fired for refusing to bend public record laws during the 2017 Hepatitis A outbreak. The former employee filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the City's Risk Management Department at the end of January.

The former head had reportedly worked for the city of San Diego for more than 18 years, during which she filled a number of roles. She began as a deputy city attorney and later became the program manager. Her roles included overseeing the release of public records. However, she was suddenly fired from her position on Nov. 17, 2017. The termination came just weeks after documents were released to a news agency that had filed public records requests.

Pregnant employees still face workplace discrimination

Although it is illegal for employers in California and elsewhere to discriminate against employees due to pregnancy, many pregnant women still experience discrimination in the workplace. This is particularly true for pregnant women who work for large corporations.

For example, one pregnant employee said that she endured sexist comments while working. She was also told that her career would plateau as a result of becoming pregnant and having a child. She said that when talking to her boss about her potential future career moves, she was told there was no place for her due to her age and the fact that she was having a child. Another single mother was not allowed to have a break on the job due to morning sickness until she got a note from her doctor. At that point, her supervisor told her that she was a liability to the company and that she should consider applying for unpaid leave.

Dealing with retaliation as a whistleblower

When you witness unlawful practices in the workplace or notice unlawful policies that are in place at your company, you might deem it appropriate to report the situation to the relevant governmental agency. When your intention is to uphold the law and protect yourself and your coworkers from potential harm or exploitation, you have the complete right to do this. These types of reports, as well as many other actions, are known as whistleblower actions.

As a whistleblower who has reported unlawful working practices, you have certain protections for a period of time after you make the report. This is because employers can resent whistleblowers and may retaliate against them. Therefore, it is unlawful to retaliate against whistleblowers for the complaint or report that they made. If you believe that you have been the victim of retaliatory treatment as a workplace whistleblower, it is important that you understand your rights.

Theories as to why the wage gap still exists

The Equal Pay Act was signed into law in 1963, and it was designed to make sure that workers in California and around the country were paid the same for doing equal work. However, a wage gap still exists in 2018. The extent of the gap depends on factors such as a worker's gender and ethnicity. Women generally have to wait until April 10 to get the same pay that a man made in the previous year.

African-American women don't reach that number until August while Latina women don't hit that mark until November. This gap exists despite the fact that women are increasingly earning college degrees. Those who study the matter say that this is partially because of discrimination against women of color. For instance, white workers tend to receive more responses to job applications compared to those who belong to minority groups.

Upper limits on desired experience could be seen as ageism

An employer in California or anywhere else in America could commit age discrimination by placing an upper limit on experience required for a job. A man in his 60s applied for a job at STMicroelectronics, Inc. that ultimately went to a person who was 36-years-old. According to the man, he was told by a supervisor that he had too much life experience and could be too inflexible for the role.

The job posting said that the ideal candidate would have about 10 years of experience, which the man had. Already an employee at the company at the time he applied for the job, he filed a lawsuit that a judge refused to dismiss. The judge ruled that a juror could reasonably conclude that discrimination had taken place. According to those who study the issue, age discrimination is something that occurs regularly despite the fact that it is illegal to discriminate against those who are 40 or older.

Handling sexual harassment in today's workplace

Of employees who responded to a CareerBuilder survey, 12 percent said that they had been victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. However, 72 percent said that they had not reported the incident to their employer. Workers in California and throughout the country may feel embarrassed or ashamed after being sexually harassed. Many don't report their experiences because they feel like nothing will be done about it or they will face negative repercussions.

Individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 were the most likely to say that they had been sexually harassed. Workers age 55 and older were the least likely to say that they had been the victims of sexual harassment. Regardless of how old a worker is, there are steps that can be taken to report an incident. First, an employee should talk to anyone in the company whom he or she feels comfortable confiding in.

Former employee files sexual harassment claim against Uber

On May 21, a former software engineer who worked at Uber Technologies Inc. in California filed a lawsuit claiming that she experienced years of sexual harassment while working at the company. The female software engineer said that the workplace had a male-dominated culture that included discriminatory, degrading and sexually harassing conduct that was aimed at the female workers.

The former worker said that the male employees would openly talk about who they would have sex with and would make inappropriate statements about appearances. She claimed that the company failed to resolve the situation and even ignored an incident where a drunk employee touched her thigh while on a Las Vegas retreat. She worked for the company from February 2014 to June 2017 when she claimed that she was fired in retaliation for complaining about the sexual harassment.

What are my rights as a pregnant waitress?

Working in a customer-facing job such as in a restaurant can be tough. You face long hours and busy shifts, which can be tiring for the body. But it's how you pay the bills, and when you find out that you are pregnant, you know that you will need your job more than ever.

While you are likely joyful that you are expecting a baby, as a waitress or a server you might be worried about how your employer might react to the situation, or how you will have enough energy to perform your job in the last months of pregnancy. It is important to remember that as a pregnant woman you have many legal protections in the workplace. The following are some key rights that you should be aware of so that you can enforce them if the situation arises.