Silicon Valley Employment Law Blog

Complaints over racial discrimination result in EEOC claim

Every employee is entitled to a discrimination-free workplace regardless of one's race, creed or marital status. If an employee feels that a fellow worker or employer has violated these rights in any way, he or she is entitled to file an EEOC claim in order to seek a remedy to the unsettling situation. California workers are assured of their rights to pursue an agreeable resolution through any methods available to them.

Recently, two women filed a claim with their local branch of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after suffering years of alleged racial discrimination. The two women, who have been employed for several years with the water department for their state, have claimed that a co-worker has subjected both of them to several degrading comments concerning their marital relationships. Both women are purportedly married to African-American men while they are of different races.

Department of Justice takes position on employment discrimination

California workers may be entitled to pursue legal action whenever they believe they suffered any type of workplace discrimination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 established that employers may not refuse to hire, terminate or otherwise discriminate against an employee based on race, religion or sex, in addition to creed or country of origin. However, at present the Act does not specifically address employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In response to several lawsuits filed by employees regarding sexual orientation and Title VII, the Department of Justice filed a brief with the courts that states that discrimination against members of the LGBT community is not covered under the Act. The law does spell out that discrimination against women based upon pregnancy or any medical conditions related to such is unlawful. However, it does not mention any type of discrimination based upon sexual preference.

Veteran files wrongful termination claim against sheriff's office

When one serves his or her country through the armed forces, he or she is entitled to certain protections under federal laws. However, there are situations that arise when an employee believes those rights were violated through an alleged wrongful termination. California veterans or other workers who believe they have faced any discrimination are assured of their rights to seek a just resolution. 

One man, who had served as a National Guardsman for six years, sought and obtained employment with his local sheriff's department. His position was within the trucking regulation department. However, in January of this year, he notified his supervisor of his intention to re-enlist in the National Guard as a means of enhancing his effectiveness as a deputy and attain his goal of earning his pilot's license.

Lawmakers act to ensure workers receive just payment for time

In spite of the fact that every state has its own wage and hours laws, there are still many employees who are victims of wage theft. However, federal lawmakers recently took action to ensure that workers receive just payment for the hours they work. If the new bill is passed, it would benefit workers in every state, including California.

According to the lawmakers who have stepped up to sponsor the proposed bill, an estimated $15 billion is unjustly withheld from employees every year. The new bill, which is entitled the Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act, would put the emphasis on fining employers who are found guilty of withholding just pay from workers. It also increases the amounts that employees can be awarded and the time frame they have to file a complaint against a company.

EEOC claim results in Ford paying an estimated $10 million

Securing employment as a factory worker with one of the top car manufacturers may seem like a dream come true for many. However, while there are many benefits to working for such a company, there may also be a dark side that could warrant the need to file an EEOC claim. Recently, the Ford Motor Company reportedly entered into an agreement to settle claims for an estimated $10 million. Although this settlement does not include any California locations, workers here may benefit from learning more of what the claim entailed.

The recent settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission came about as a way to possibly forestall a federal lawsuit that was filed over alleged racial and sexual harassment that purportedly occurred at two separate plants in another state. According to an investigation by the EEOC, there was sufficient cause to pursue the harassment claim concerning women and African-American employees at the two plants. The agreement sets up a fund of an estimated $7.75 million to settle any claims of harassment which can be increased up to $10.125 million as needed to cover both damages and any taxes that may be incurred.

Former employees file wrongful termination against state official

After every election, if an incumbent has been ousted, there are likely many changes made in the old administration. However, while newly elected officials may prefer to make personnel changes, there are times when these decisions may result in a wrongful termination claim. There may be many California workers who lost long-term positions based on a seemingly personal agenda.

In January, when a newly elected secretary of state made the decision to downsize the number of employees under him, many believed it was a cost-saving measure at first. However, purportedly, shortly after 16 workers were terminated, 22 more were added to the payroll. Based on those new hires, 10 of 16 employees who were dismissed have now filed a wrongful termination suit against this public office.

Workers protest having their employment compensation trashed

A segment of workers for the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts have filed a formal protest against these departments. They claim that the agency is unfairly withholding employment compensation without justification. The dispute hinges on the fact that this segment of workers does not have a valid contract in place at this time. Just as other California workers are entitled to do, these employees are attempting to preserve their rights to a just salary and fair workplace practices according to state employment laws.

The complaint is based on allegations that the departments are required to issue cost-of-living adjustments every year at the beginning of the new fiscal year – which is July 1st. However, even though a human resources worker stated that other classification of workers received these pay adjustments, the professional division, which includes technicians, supervisors and engineers, does not qualify since this contract has not been agreed upon. However, the workers union has protested and said the failure to provide the increases indicates a change in the affected employees' work conditions.

Steelworkers claim need for better employment contracts

In many sectors, the job market struggled to rebound from the recession that hit several years ago. At that time, workers often were forced to accept less than ideal employment contracts in order to continue to bring home a paycheck. However, many industries have seen a resurgence in production, and as such, workers here in California and elsewhere may now have more reasons to seek better terms in upcoming contract renewals.

Steelworkers in one state recently organized a rally in order to draw attention to the need for modifications in their upcoming contract renewals. These workers have been in negotiations with their employer for the past several weeks in an effort to seek improvements in their labor agreements. These employees, who are represented by a steelworkers' union, claim they are requesting an end to an unfair wage system, better pay and contracts that are more fair.

Judge rules in favor of former CEO in employment pension case

A judge recently ruled that an agreement between the former CEO and president of Mechanics Bank must be honored based on its original intent. The ruling settles a lawsuit that the former employer filed against the bank over an employment pension dispute. The bank, which operates multiple branches throughout California, had requested that the suit be dismissed last year for lack of merit.

In his ruling, the judge determined that the bank and the former CEO had arrived at an agreement that purportedly offered the man a payout in exchange for his termination from his position in 2012. The agreement paid the CEO approximately $3.8 million. The plaintiff stated in his lawsuit that he was told that the deal would not affect his access to the retirement benefits the bank would owe him when he reached retirement age.

Singer Eddie Money denied dismissal of wrongful termination suit

In the world of music and musicians, the compositions of touring bands changes for a variety of reasons. However, in spite of some public feuds, one does not hear of a band member filing a wrongful termination suit against a lead artist on a frequent basis. Recently, California resident and singer Eddie Money, was denied his request to have such a suit against him dismissed.

According to the complaint filed against the 70s iconic singer, the former drummer for the backup band was terminated in 2015 in favor of the singer's children. The drummer, Glenn Symmonds, claimed that the singer fired him without just cause. Symmonds also claimed that Money subjected him to cruel treatment in response to his ordeal with cancer and an unspecified back injury.

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