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San Francisco Employment Law Blog

Woman's private social media leads to wrongful termination

Many Bay Area residents use, or are at least familiar with popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Social media can be a great way to let the world know what the poster is up to, or to present his or her views on current events, politics and community happenings. Though social media has taken the world by storm, some employers may take issue with what an employee posts. One woman recently fought a wrongful termination for this reason. 

The woman was employed as a police dispatcher, serving her local community. During the 2016 presidential election, she posted a map showing statistics as to which candidate was currently ahead in each state. A commenter did not agree with her personal choice to support one candidate over the other, and took issue with her publicly cheering as her candidate seemed to pull ahead.

Coast Guard cadets report rampant sexual harassment

Bay Area residents know that the men and women who serve our country in the United States Coast Guard do their best to keep our waters safe. The Coast Guard assists with everything from law enforcement to rescues. Recently, it has come to light than many of the brave men and women who enter the Coast Guard have experienced sexual harassment

The report indicates that nearly half of the female cadets have experienced sexual harassment on the job. It should be noted, however, that many male cadets, as many as 17%, report being victimized as well. Sexual harassment is not just a "female problem," and this recent news illustrates that any person can unfortunately become the victim of such unfair and inappropriate treatment.

Victims of wage and hour violations finally get justice

Bay Area employees work hard for their wages. Especially in uncertain economic climates, finding and maintaining steady employment can feel like a job in and of itself. When an employer fails to pay a worker properly, the employee becomes the victim of wage and hour violations. This can be a devastating blow to an employee, both financially and mentally. 

Recently, the federal arm of the Department of Labor fined a supermarket for wage and hour violations. The supermarket was also found to have been negligent in the record-keeping concerning payroll. Unfortunately, not all employees were taken care of by the federal action. 

The law prohibits employers from engaging in certain practices

The United States used to be known as a melting pot. People from all over the world come to this country to start a new life. The chance for equal treatment of everyone regardless of age, race, religion, gender and more still attracts people to come here.

Unfortunately, though, people still receive poor treatment because of their differences. For this reason, Congress has passed federal laws to protect people from harassment, discrimination and retaliation, especially in the workplace. Everyone, including you, deserves the right to the same opportunities as everyone else.

Employee or contractor: mix-up leads to wage and hour violations

Bay Area employees work hard each day to earn an honest living. In uncertain economic times, finding full-time employment can be a dream come true. Unfortunately, sometimes, an employee may become the victim of wage and hour violations at his or her place of work. 

Recently, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor revealed that a delivery company that operates in several states had classified some of its couriers as independent contractors, rather than employees. Independent contractors are usually responsible for providing their own materials and covering expenses, such as gas, while on the job. Independent contractors are taxed differently than traditional employees. However, the couriers in question should have been treated as employees, as they did not meet the criteria to be considered independent contractors. 

Teacher cries foul after wrongful termination

Most employees work hard, and when the time clock is punched, people look forward to spending their off time in the way they choose. A recent story exposes how a teacher in the Bay Area was mistreated by her employer after her employer took issue with a personal choice she made. The incident is raising questions about wrongful termination across the United States. 

The ordeal began when the woman, a teacher at a private school, was featured on one of her favorite websites. The website features people who pose in a way some may consider to be racy or inappropriate, but the woman was not nude. The photo went along with an interview in which she answered questions about her political views. 

Restaurant accused of wage and hour violations

Going out to eat is a nice treat, and Bay Area residents rely on the men and women in the food service industry to make the experience a pleasant one. Preparing and serving good food and providing prompt friendly service can set a restaurant apart from competitors. Men and women in the food service industry work hard but are sometimes the victims of wage and hour violations.

Recently, an investigation revealed that a popular restaurant in North Carolina was not paying employees properly. Some of the employees had worked hours of overtime but were not paid the rate they deserved. One man worked overtime but was only paid a regular hourly wage because he worked as both a busser and a food runner, and the hours were not combined on his paycheck. 

Whistleblowers fear retaliation

Bay Area employees may be able to recall a situation in which they had to decide to speak up about a problem in the workplace. In some situations, a supervisor or employer may not want to deal with the issue properly, and may want to prevent other employees or the public from finding out. People who speak up might be considered whistleblowers, and many fear retaliation. 

Recently, two such whistleblowers are asking the public to dig a little deeper before people consider air travel. These two people, who have not disclosed their identity for fear that they will lose their jobs, say that, on some occasions, even when they found a problem with safety on a particular plane or airline, they were stifled. These individuals were safety inspectors for the FAA, tasked with making sure planes and their airlines are keeping up with safety standards and regulations. 

Celebrity chef faces pregnancy discrimination lawsuit

The celebrated chef Thomas Keller and his two restaurants, part of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, face a lawsuit from a former employee alleging sex discrimination and violation of pregnancy disability leave. The lawsuit, filed in Napa County Superior Court, seeks $5 million in damages for Vanessa Scott-Allen, who alleges that her pregnancy led to her ultimate termination.

Keller’s bi-coastal restaurants, Per Se in New York and the French Laundry in California, both played a role in Scott-Allen's allegations. While she began work at the New York restaurant at 2011, after a January 2016 vacation to California, she expressed interest in moving across the country and transferring to the French Laundry. The lawsuit states that both restaurants were content with the transfer.

Fast food giant faces sexual harassment allegations

It would be difficult for Bay Area residents to find a person that has not patronized a McDonald's at some point. The fast food chain has locations globally, and one would be hard-pressed to find a city in the United States that does not have one. On the surface, McDonald's has a family-friendly reputation, even using a slogan that includes the words "serving up smiles." Employees of the burger giant don't seem to be smiling, however, and McDonald's now faces rampant accusations of sexual harassment nationwide. 

One employee told investigators that she experienced sexual harassment over the span of many months while working at McDonald's. The woman, a mother, even reported crude comments that were made about her infant daughter, for whom she was working so hard to support. She did the right thing and reported the abuse, but upon doing so, her hours were reduced and nothing was done to stop the harassment. 

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