A woman, who worked for San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) for nine years, filed a discrimination lawsuit against her former employer on April 18. In her filing, she chronicled how she was overlooked for promotions and later publicly demoted during her tenure working with them.
She also alleges that SFMTA's former director of transit once asked her fellow employees what her gender was. He cited her hairstyle and attire as grounds for questioning this.
In her lawsuit, the plaintiff also chronicles how she once made a recommendation in 2016 to consolidate the SFMTA's support shops. Independent consultants had recommended this as well. The plaintiff's recommendation was rejected. Her boss then made it clear to her that he wasn't interested in hearing any more of her ideas.
She was repeatedly denied promotions after that. She was told that she didn't meet the hiring criteria. A colleague then reportedly overheard that their director wanted a man to take the position.
Then, in another incident, the plaintiff reported the use of defective fare boxes installed on some of SFMTA's fleet of 800 buses. She attempted to call this to her superior's attention before a new order of them was placed. They ignored her warnings and ultimately placed the order.
She was transferred to install those fareboxes. When she called attention to their poor quality, she was removed from the project and assigned to a new research role. The director then sent a memo to the entire staff saying that he'd appointed three men to get the farebox project back on schedule.
A manager of the information department then told the plaintiff that installing them may have been too technical of a task for women. Later, the plaintiff was asked to consult SFMTA's leadership on the use of the fareboxes. Months later, she was demoted to a nonsupervisory role.
This worker's accusations aren't the first of the kind. Several similar lawsuits have been filed against the SFMTA in recent months. San Francisco's mayor has appointed an independent ombudsman to oversee how grievances filed with the city are handled.
It's illegal under both state and federal laws for individuals to be discriminated against based on gender, sexuality, race, religion, disability status and for other reasons. A discrimination attorney can let you know what legal options are available for you to pursue if you've been treated unfairly in your California workplace.