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San Francisco Employment Law Blog

Whistleblowers protected by California law

Sometimes, employees see conduct they know is unethical or illegal and feel obligated to speak up about it. Unfortunately, these whistleblowers may end up losing their jobs or facing other forms of punishment on the job for their actions. However, the law in California, which covers the Bay Area, protects these employees from retaliation.

Thanks to common law -- one source of protection in California -- employees may have cases for retaliatory discharge if they are fired or demoted for taking part in actions that are protected by important public policies. In addition, according to the courts, the issues that these employees raise must involve the interest of the public. In other words, the problems must impact the public at large, not just a particular person or group of people.

Pregnancy discrimination suit filed after pregnant woman fired

A woman in another state recently claimed that she was mistreated at work due to being pregnant. She reportedly ended up getting terminated due to her pregnancy and thus filed a lawsuit against her employer, an aviation parts manufacturer. Any woman who experiences pregnancy discrimination in the Bay Area or elsewhere has the right to seek justice.

In the out-of-state case, the aviation parts company is accused of violating federal law by firing the pregnant woman instead of accommodating her medical restrictions related to her pregnancy. The woman began working at the business back in July of 2015, where she packaged airplane parts in the warehouse. When she was allegedly instructed to complete a work-related task that went against the medical restrictions that her physician imposed on her because of her pregnancy, she gave the company's managers the required medical documentation detailing her physician's restrictions.

Whistleblowers may be reinstated to their jobs, receive damages

A woman in another state claimed that she lost her job simply because she was a whistleblower. However, the woman, who worked at a college, was recently reinstated to her former role. Whistleblowers in the Bay Area who are punished by their employers for reporting illegal or unethical behavior have the right to seek to hold accountable their employers.

In the recent out-of-state case, the woman was terminated back in 2014. Before being fired, she was the director of one of the campuses of a college and earned about $85,000 in benefits and salary. However, she claimed she was demoted from her position after reporting financial abuse.

Gucci faces $10 million sexual harassment lawsuit

A woman in another state claimed that her former male manager at a Gucci store harassed her sexually. She has thus decided to file a $10 million sexual harassment lawsuit against the fashion company. Sexual harassment is illegal, so employers in the Bay Area and elsewhere who engage in this type of behavior may be held liable through the civil court system.

In the out-of-state case, the female worker who filed the lawsuit asserted that her manager was flirtatious toward her when she started to work at the Gucci store in late 2014. She claimed that the manager's overtures were not wanted or reciprocated. These overtures, however, allegedly became more gross with time.

Sexual harassment suit targets hotel, celebrity chef

A hotel in another state has been named in a lawsuit alleging harassment on the basis of sex. This lawsuit was recently amended to also include charges of sexual harassment against celebrity chef Todd English. Anyone in the Bay Area who has suffered this type of harassment in the workplace has the right to seek to hold his or her employer accountable.

In the recent case, a woman claimed that the celebrity chef called her sexy and expressed his surprise at her still being single. In the lawsuit, the woman further claimed that the chef, who seemed drunk, began to hug her and kiss her constantly on the cheek before trying to kiss her lips, too. Other servers at the chef's restaurant are also accused of harassing the woman.

Lawsuit filed against company accused of pregnancy discrimination

A lawsuit was recently filed against a real estate firm that allegedly discriminated against workers who were pregnant. Specifically, the firm terminated a minimum of three pregnant women. Those in the Bay Area who experience pregnancy discrimination, which unfortunately continues to occur in the modern workplace, may choose to seek justice through the criminal court system.

The realty group that was recently sued both manages and owns commercial properties, including apartment buildings and shopping centers. According to the lawsuit, the company terminated a leasing consultant back in April as well as an apartment cleaner and leasing agent back in 2013. The terminations reportedly occurred after the women announced their pregnancies.

What can employees wear for religious reasons

With the nation’s economy steadily improving, more people are entering the workforce. More importantly, they are looking for higher paying jobs. Unfortunately, scores of applicants may be denied employment because of their religious beliefs. Essentially, their religious practices may be mocked or ridiculed, or their religious dress may be viewed as inappropriate for the workplace even before an applicant may conform to rules.

In some instances, restrictions on religious dress may violate Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against employees and prospective employees because of their religion, religious beliefs or practices. The Act also covers employees provided by staffing agencies who work for third party companies. 

Police officer files pregnancy discrimination lawsuit

A police officer in another state claims that she was mistreated due to being pregnant. She has therefore filed a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against her department. Anyone in the Bay Area who faces negative treatment in the workplace due to a pregnancy has the right to seek accountability from the employer for such conduct.

The police officer asserts that she had no choice but to take leave without pay because her department discriminated against her due to her pregnancy. The department allegedly refused to provide her with safety equipment that fit her properly. Specifically, she claims that she was not given a bulletproof vest that actually fit her, so she ended up having to wear one that made it difficult for her to breathe.

Whistleblowers may face termination after reporting wrongdoing

A woman in another state claimed she was terminated from her job after reporting that her employer was breaking federal rules. She has therefore decided to file a whistleblower lawsuit against the company. Whistleblowers in the Bay Area are protected by the law, so if they face retaliation, they have the right to seek justice.

In the recent out-of-state case, the woman asserted that her employer, a medical practice offering addiction treatment and primary care, violated regulations concerning a medication designed to help wean patients off opioids, such as heroin. In addition, the practice is accused of not following rules involving the administration of a drug called Suboxone, whose administration must be monitored carefully. According to the plaintiff, staff at the medical office prescribed the drug without actually having the authority to do it.

Federal sexual harassment suit filed against 2 IHOPs

Workers of two IHOP eateries in two different cities claimed they were harassed in a sexual manner on the job. They have therefore decided to file a federal sexual harassment suit against the franchises. When employees in the Bay Area and elsewhere experience this type of harassment in the workplace, it is within their rights to seek to hold their employers accountable.

In the out-of-state case, 11-plus IHOP workers at one of the two locations, all female, claimed they had to endure sexual touching, gestures and comments that were offensive. The alleged incidents occurred from 2011 to 2013 and led to an abusive and hostile working environment. In addition, a male worker at the second location claimed that the general manager of the restaurant groped him and made unwelcome sexual comments and propositions.

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