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San Francisco Employment Law Blog

Study exposes issues with breastfeeding discrimination

For many mothers, breastfeeding is the only way they want to feed their children. Unfortunately, reports have found that they face a lot of discrimination over this decision.

The study was carried out at the University of California's Hastings College of Law and then published through the Center for WorkLife Law. It claims that workplace breastfeeding discrimination has:

  • Impacted the earning ability of thousands of women
  • Affected their employment status
  • Adversely impacted their personal health
  • Negatively affected the health of their newborn babies

Is your employer mistreating you because of your age?

In an ideal professional environment, employers reward team members for years of long-term service and loyalty. In some workplaces, this is, unfortunately, not the case. It is not uncommon for older employees to experience discrimination because of their age.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) upholds federal law regarding discrimination. If you believe your supervisor or coworkers are treating you poorly, and you are age 40 or older, you may have grounds to pursue litigation.

Wrongful termination and breach of contract: Were you a victim?

When you accept a job offer, you typically sign a contract outlining the terms and conditions of your employment. Employment contracts may also include language related to your potential termination, including any benefits you're entitled to if the time comes.

It's important to carefully review your contract upon termination, as this can help you better understand if your employer violated the terms and conditions.

How to combat gender bias in your workplace

It is a sad reality that gender bias plays a significant role in the workplace. Implicit bias refers to an unconscious tendency to favor something over another – in this case, favoring men above women. Even if a company does not have an issue with explicit sexism or discrimination, it can still be a restrictive and harmful environment for female employees. 

Why do so many organizations struggle with closing the gender gap, and what can you do about it? Here is a quick guide to combating gender bias at your job.

Was my demotion wrongful because I took medical leave?

If you had to take medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for personal reasons or to take care of family, it is likely that you had to deal with a significant amount of stress during that period. It is unfair that you would then have to worry about your career suffering as a result.

FMLA leave is protected under federal laws. This means that while you will not get paid for the time that you take off from work, you cannot lawfully suffer from retaliation as a result. Unfortunately, many workers who take FMLA leave report experiencing some forms of retaliation once they return.

How unconscious bias impacts women in the workplace

As a woman in the American workforce, you may have found at some point during your career that you had struggles advancing or securing the salary you deserve, and you may attribute this to the fact that you are a woman. Regrettably, many employers have something of an unconscious bias against female employees, and this holds true regardless of whether the employer is female, herself.

Just as young boys and girls often grow up to believe that there are “boy’s activities” and girl’s activities,” this sentiment often continues later in life, where it can have a direct impact on the work environment. For example, throughout life, many young boys and girls grow up to believe that men are the ones who typically hold leadership roles, and it can be hard to shake this subconscious belief that men are better suited to positions of power.

Former employee sues California charter school over dismissal

Early labor history in the United States has quite a few black marks, with many employers failing to protect their employees from the risks of their workplaces. Another fault has been many bosses' ability to dismiss employees at will and without good reason. Fortunately, California's labor codes protect employees against wrongful termination.

A former administrator for a charter school is suing for wrongful termination as well as emotional distress caused on purpose. The woman was chief operating officer of the managing nonprofit organization when she complained about the chief executive officer's possible unethical behavior, which may have included misappropriation of funds and conflicts of interest.

Family Medical Leave Act protections for workers

The Family Medical Leave Act protects American workers from discriminatory practices which prevent them from taking necessary medical leave. An employee may take up to 3 months' total unpaid leave from work per year under specific conditions. The employee retains full job security and company group health benefits during the period of absence.

A person is eligible if their company employs 50 or more workers within a 75-mile area, and the employee has accumulated a minimum of 1,250 work hours during a cumulative period of at least 12 months. There are additional leave days for specific conditions, such as up to 26 weeks leave for workers who care for incapacitated family military service members.

Detective suing LAPD for not stopping abuse, revenge porn

A veteran police detective is suing the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) as well as a fellow officer. The woman, who has been with the LAPD for three decades, says the officer, with whom she was in a romantic relationship, physically and sexually assaulted her. According to the lawsuit, the relationship began in 2013 but turned abusive in 2016. On one occasion in 2017, she says he raped her in a motel room. She also accuses him of punching her in a diner.

She also says that the officer, who's now on administrative leave, threatened to distribute explicit photos if she ended the relationship, as she says she sought to do in 2017. At a press conference this month announcing the lawsuit, the detective said, "With these photos, he emotionally terrorized me. He controlled and manipulated me." He eventually did distribute photos of her within the LAPD.

Google ends required arbitration for sexual harassment this month

Tech giant Google, which is headquartered in Mountain View, faced criticism and even a walkout last year for the way it was dealing with sexual harassment claims. Google employment agreements mandated that any sexual harassment and assault claims be settled in arbitration.

Beginning this month, that will no longer be the case. Google announced late last year following the walkout by 20,000 employees that arbitration for these claims would be optional. That policy change is effective on March 21.

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