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San Francisco Employment Law Blog

An unlawful firing of Fresno Chipotle manager nets her $8 million

A civil jury ordered Chipotle Mexican Grill to pay a former manager of one of Fresno locations $7.97 million on Friday, May 11 for her wrongful termination from her role with the popular fast-food chain.

At trial, attorneys for Chipotle argued that the woman had been let go from her role in 2015 after discovering that $626 was missing from the restaurant's safe. Apparently the woman's bosses at the time even told her that surveillance footage taken at the store caught her red-handed stealing the money.

What constitutes reasonable accommodations?

The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees individuals who suffer from certain conditions reasonable accommodations in the workplace. The individual must request this accommodation. This request does not need to mention the ADA, but it should make clear what disability the person has and what accommodations would provide the greatest help. 

Many employers would be more than happy to provide these accommodations, but others may give more pushback. There are some limitations to what employers can provide, but for the most part, they can do a lot to ensure every worker is comfortable and does not feel left out. 

Can I take action against unequal pay?

It is becoming common knowledge that there is a wide pay gap between women and men, as well as between different races in the United States. Although there exists a law called the Equal Pay Act, which seeks to protect all workers in the United States from pay discrimination, the pay gap still seems to prevail.

As an employee, it is important that you understand your rights to equal pay, and know what causes of action you can take if you believe that you are being discriminated against in regard to the amount of compensation you receive.

The aftermath of sexual harassment

One of the most difficult times for a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace is the weeks and months after the incidents or the patterns of behavior took place. It has been reported that 75 percent of sexual harassment victims face some time of retaliation, either from making a complaint about the behavior, or turning down the coworker's or manager's sexual advances.

If you have been made to feel uncomfortable in the workplace by a manager or coworker, it is important to take the time to understand how you should go about reporting a case, and what to look out for and expect once the case has been reported.

What is defamation?

It goes without saying that today’s workplace, whether in California or elsewhere, often is less than pleasant. Discrimination comes in an almost infinite variety of types, forms and levels of severity. While women are the most common victims, men are by no means immune.

One of the most frequent types of workplace discrimination is harassment of one form or another. Verbal harassment generally takes the form of one employee aiming hurtful and/or offensive words at another, either in private or in front of other employees.

The rights of a special needs parent

Being a parent is a full-time job, and it requires that you are available for the needs of your child or children at any hour of the day. However, when you are the parent of a special needs child, you will understand the intensity of the responsibilities you have.

When you have a day job as well as the responsibility of taking care of a special needs child, you will know that sometimes your child's care needs to take priority. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) makes sure that all parents and caregivers have the right to unpaid leave without discrimination when they need to take care of a family member.

Lawsuit alleges politician fired staffer out of retaliation

There have been some explosive allegations aimed at a California lawmaker by his former chief of staff. The former employee claims that he was wrongfully terminated after he spoke up about sexual misconduct by the lawmaker toward other employees.

Not only is sexual harassment still a big problem in the nation's workplaces, retaliation for reporting sexual harassment is also an ongoing issue. Around 75 percent of victims say they've experienced retaliation for filing a complaint.

A cancer patient's rights in the workplace

Cancer is a devastating disease and impacts millions of people every year. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 1.6 million people received a cancer diagnosis in 2016 with the most common types being breast, lung and prostate cancers. 

Cancer greatly impacts a person's ability to do certain work-related tasks. A patient may need to take more days off work to go to chemotherapy treatments or may require more breaks during the day to combat fatigue. People who receive a cancer diagnosis should know that employers cannot discriminate against them based on their diagnosis. Cancer patients have protections under federal law. 

Do you make less money than your co-workers?

In California, employees doing similar work for the same company should be paid similar amounts. This is true in many cases even if, say, Employee A has a master's degree while Employee B has a bachelor's. The same idea applies to something such as one year of experience versus five years of experience upon hire.

Employers used to deploy such measures as a way to pay some employees more. Often, these employees would be white and male. Now California has also banned salary history inquiries, meaning that employers cannot ask you about your salary history. If you volunteer the history, the employer can use that as one factor in deciding what to pay you. Employers must also offer pay scales to job candidates upon reasonable request. This helps you self-select for jobs and should cut down on pay discrepancies for employees doing similar work. All that said, what if you find out that you make less money than one of your co-workers performing similar work? What should you do?

Your working rights when pregnant

As a woman who is pregnant, you may have been nervous or confused during the process of announcing your pregnancy to your employer. Many women become concerned that this announcement might lead to a change in the way that they are treated at work, concerned that they might be perceived as less committed or that they might miss out on future promotion opportunities.

It is important to remember as a pregnant woman that you are legally protected from any type of differential treatment such as this. It is vital that you understand fully your rights as you navigate the different stages of pregnancy and motherhood.

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