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Bryant Whitten, LLP

Northern California Employment Law Blog

Watershed employment law case at U.S. Supreme Court

A recent decision from the United States Supreme Court may well result in a change in the way many federal employment discrimination cases get handled. Of course, it may take several months to actually work out how this case will affect federal employment discrimination claims filed under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII.

Title VII is the law under which employees can sue their employers for discrimination based on race, sex, religion and the like. As this blog has mentioned before, the law contemplates that a victim is first going to go to an administrative agency, which at the federal level is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, with their grievance.

Can my employer punish me for a social media post?

Most workers in California these days either have a social media account or at least would be able to figure out how post something on social media without much effort.

While those who are involved with social media probably think that what they post is their personal business, employers do have some rights to review an employee's social media account and, depending on the circumstances, mete out punishments if they do not like what they see.

Why summer is a popular season for age discrimination

Older workers are at risk of losing their jobs during any time of the year, but some seasons have certain disadvantages over others. Even though you can’t always expect your employer to fire you around certain months, you can pay attention to certain signs or trends that pop up during these periods that could foreshadow your exit.

Summer is a season where many older workers find themselves vulnerable in front of their employer in one way or another. As the temperatures continue to rise in California, it is important to know why so many employees over 50 may end up losing their jobs within the next few months.

Legal support company accused of pregnancy discrimination

Our blog has on many occasions discussed how those employers who really should know better engage in pregnancy discrimination and other forms of unlawful employment discrimination. A recent filing in another state is just the latest example of this.

The employer in this recent case practices what it calls litigation science but which also may be referred to as litigation support. While not a law firm, the employer obviously deals with the law regularly.

We stand up for those who serve our country

While people might not think of it when they hear about employment discrimination, it is an unfortunate reality that many members of the armed forces, such as the National Guard the Reserves, may find it very difficult to keep and hold a civilian job on account of their military service.

After all, while employers may pay lip serve to patriotism and doing one's civic duty, the reality is that an employee who has military obligations, especially if they are called to active duty, may be wrongly perceived as a burden on an employer. As such, a California man or woman may return home from service to find that he or she no longer has a job or, at best, is going to face some very difficult circumstances at work.

Prominent scientists moving to put teeth behind group's code

The prestigious National Academy of Sciences, with a membership that consists of around 2,000 of the brightest scientific minds in the country, is moving to add some teeth behind its recently adopted code of conduct for its membership.

At present, even in the wake of serious allegations of sexual harassment or other flagrant discrimination, a member of the Academy can only be asked to resign. Should the member refuse, the Academy has no way of forcing the member out.

Amazon under fire for pregnant employee bathroom breaks

Retail and online shopping industries are often seen as the most common culprits when it comes to work discrimination. You’ll frequently see some of the larger names in the news such as Walmart in a controversial court case at least once every month. Despite the heavy criticisms these companies receive and their vows to maintain a safe workplace, it can be difficult to hold them to their word considering how many buildings they have around the country and the number of workers within them.

The online shopping company Amazon has faced several controversies for their working environment within the last decade. Many current and former workers have cited inhumane conditions and disrespectful employers during their time operating there. The newest addition to their long list of criticisms was recently highlighted on a CNET article, where former employees that were pregnant spoke about how difficult their employers made it for them.

New sexual harassment claim against political party, former chair

Over the last several months, there have been a series of sexual harassment allegations against leaders in California's political scene. Now, a former employee of California's Democratic Party has sued the organization as well as its former chairman.

The man alleges the former leader sexually assaulted him. Specifically, the man said he felt compelled to perform sexual acts with the former chair. The former chair allegedly gave a veiled threat to the man that if the man refused, the chair would harm the man's career.

Update: more money paid for pregnancy discrimination in 2018

A previous post on this blog discussed how thousands of people across the country, including in California, file pregnancy discrimination claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) every year. The EEOC is a federal agency charged with enforcing the federal laws prohibiting various types of employment discrimination, including pregnancy discrimination. To update the previous post, the number of pregnancy discrimination claims filed with the EEOC are now finalized and available for the fiscal year 2018.

The volume of new claims dropped somewhat, from 3,174 in 2017 down to 2,790 in 2018. On the other hand, the total amount of payments collected on behalf of employees rose, from $15.0 million in 2017 to $16.6 million in 2018, an increase of about 10%.

Issues with remote work and employment discrimination

One of the neatest benefits of modern technology is that more and more employees in California are able to do some or even all of their work from the comfort of their own homes. While it is certainly not something that all employers in Northern California offer or that all employees would even want to accept, many find the option both convenient and enjoyable. However, employees who are interested in this option need to be aware of some important rights that they have with respect to remote working arrangements.

For one, California's wage and hour rules still apply when a person is working at home. A person who is not exempt from California's overtime laws has to be paid the appropriate overtime rate if he works over eight hours in a given day or otherwise qualifies for these benefits. Other wage and hour laws also apply to arrangements involving remote work.

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