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Orange County Employment Law Blog

Former NFL cheerleader sues for discrimination

California football fans might be interested in learning that a former cheerleader of the Miami Dolphins has filed a lawsuit against the franchise. The plaintiff is alleging that the team and the NFL discriminated against her because of her gender and her religion.

According to the complaint, the woman says that she was held to different standards for religious expression, social media and her references to her beliefs than were the football players. She claims that she was reportedly questioned about the fact that she was waiting for marriage before having sex and was asked to not discuss that she was a virgin on social media.

Constructive discharge a form of illegal retaliation

Workers in California who expose wrongful or unethical practices on the job may be afraid of the threat of losing their employment. This is one reason that the False Claims Act includes an anti-retaliation provision, making it illegal for companies to fire whistleblowers in response to their actions. In addition, actions like demoting, suspending or harassing employee whistleblowers are also banned by the act's prohibitions.

However, constructive discharge is not specifically mentioned as a form of prohibited retaliation in the text of the Act. A March 2018 decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit clarifies that constructive discharge is another form of unlawful retaliation against whistleblowers in the workplace. In the case in question, a nursing director at a health care group was responsible for assigning nurses and invoicing patient insurers. In the course of doing her work, she realized that insurance bills were being inflated, while patients were not receiving necessary nursing care.

Employees report years of age discrimination at IBM

According to a recent ProPublica report, IBM has engaged in widespread age discrimination for several years. Some former employees in California might be among those who the report alleges were pushed out of the company for being too old. IBM allegedly used various methods, including forcing employees to choose between relocating or leaving their jobs.

One employee reported that she was forced to choose between taking early retirement and being fired. Others said they were told their abilities were out of date and let go, only to be brought back in as contractors who were paid less and given fewer benefits.

Man fired after raising concerns about fraud sues former employer

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California will oversee the consolidated legal complaints of a man who alleges that his employer dismissed him in an act of retaliation. The man had been involved in a business deal with Roadrunner Intermodal Services when it bought all of stock for Central Cal Transportation in 2012. He also accepted a position to work as vice president of Central Cal Transportation after Roadrunner assumed ownership. His lawsuit aims accusations of failure to pay wages, libel, slander and wrongful termination at Roadrunner.

According to court filings, the man and another business partner expected to receive as much as $4 million. His salary as vice president was supposed to be $200,000 a year. While working as vice president, he found accounting problems and raised his concerns with management at Roadrunner. By April 2015, the company had shown profits for two years, but Roadrunner had not paid the agreed-upon amounts. Roadrunner delayed fulfilling his requests for financial information.

What actions can I take as a misclassified worker?

The way that you are classified as a worker can be very important to the wages you earn. This is because different types of workers have differing wage rights. One example of this are the disparities between wages earned by employees versus wages earned by independent contractors.

The use of the independent contractor classification is estimated to have risen by around 40 percent over around the past decade. In this environment, concerns arise that some workers are getting misclassified as independent contractors when they actually should be employees. Employers can't simply classify anyone they want as an independent contractor, they are only supposed to use this classification appropriately and where it actually applies.

Californian sues Google for wrongful termination

According to news reports, a transgender man who previously worked for Google is suing the company for wrongful termination and retaliation. The man filed his lawsuit on Feb. 21 in San Francisco County Superior Court.

The man alleged that Google terminated him in November 2017 after he had worked for the company for a little more than two years. He had reportedly responded to posts on the company's internal social media platform that he felt were sexist or racist. According to court documents, the man's manager told him that he was engaging in excessive social activism.

Employees take action against 24 Hour Fitness

California residents who are looking for work may be able to find it at 24 Hour Fitness. However, former employees have filed many complaints about the company in the past 20 years. One former manager said that the company was more focused on bringing in members than making a difference in anyone's life. In response, it has tried to curtail the ability of its workers to file such claims in the future. However, their actions may have violated federal labor law according to the National Labor Relations Board.

The NLRB takes issue with the fact that employees are required to sign employment agreements that strip their right to file class action lawsuits. While these agreements aren't unusual, it is unusual for a company to defend the right to have one so aggressively. The Supreme Court may hear oral arguments in the cased during its next term.

Workplace victims unlikely to report their experiences

A 2016 study conducted by an EEOC task force found that only 6 to 13 percent of those who are harassed at work file a complaint. Harassment based on gender was unlikely to be reported while just 8 percent of incidents involving unwanted touching were reported. Most victims in California and elsewhere failed to report harassment out of fear that nothing would happen after a claim was filed.

Employees may also fear that reporting an incident would lead to some form of retaliation. According to a 2003 study, 75 percent of workers who reported being mistreated at work were retaliated against in some form. Employers might show indifference toward complaints or make light of them. Despite these reactions, it is important to note that sexual harassment has been illegal under Title VII since 1986. The EEOC says that new training methods may be effective in changing how people perceive sexual harassment at work.

Lawsuit aims charges of discrimination and retaliation at UCSF

A vocational nurse employed at the University of California, San Francisco, has chosen to file a lawsuit against her employer, the UC Board of Regents and the university's president. According to the plaintiff, she suffered retaliation after complaining that her supervisor sexually harassed her and discriminated against her because of her religion.

A press release from her attorney described an internal investigation that turned into repeated attacks on the victim. The employer wrote disciplinary reviews about things she did not do. Ridicule from co-workers has prompted the woman to cease wearing a hijab. Her attorney said that other complaints have revealed a pattern of hostility toward employees who make complaints at UCSF. The employer opens investigations against alleged victims and seeks negative feedback from their co-workers.

Can I waive my rights against age discrimination?

As the workforce in America continues to evolve, older employees regularly find themselves at a significant disadvantage the workplace. No matter how dedicated and involved a person is in developing business practices and technology, it is always difficult to remain fluent in these changes as a person ages.

This is normal, but still difficult to process and navigate for thousands of aging employees throughout the country. In many cases, a workplace may even violate the rights of a worker based on his or her age. When this occurs, the employee should take direct action to address the issue and protect his or her priorities.