Category: Wrongful Termination

Quarter Million for FMLA Rights

In 2010, a male employee of an office supply company went through the trial of his life—his wife was critically ill, and he had to inform his company that he needed to take care of her. The employee specifically worked for a subsidiary of a large chain, meeting the threshold of fifty or more employees for the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Though company was obligated to provide FMLA, and the employee was eligible for it, the former failed to inform the latter of his rights. FMLA allows for an employee to care for a family member, in this case his spouse, for serious health issues.

For the next two years, the employee continued to eat away at his sick and personal time off and vacation days. All the while, FMLA still was not extended to the employee. The employee even telecommunicated for periods of time so that he could continue working, but still take care of his ailing wife.

After the two years of struggling to balance work with his wife’s condition, the company evaluated the employee’s performance. They questioned his obligation to the company and determined he was not performing up to business’s standards. He was terminated shortly thereafter.

On the former employee’s behalf, the federal Department of Labor investigated the terminated and subsequently filed a lawsuit in 2013. After another two years of litigation, the company settled with the Labor Department, recovering a $250,000 settlement.

Source: HR Watch Dog CalChamber

Female Comedians Will Face Sexual Harassment at Work Everyday

Jen Grant, a comedian from Toronto, started a set at a corporate event, ready to get some laughs. Grant has been a comedian for 16 years. That day, rather than leaving the stage with a smile on her face, she left the stage in tears. She had never cried after a set before in her entire career.

While doing her set, a man in the audience spoke, in what Grant described as a “rapey” voice, “There’s a 51 percent chance that my buddy here will have sex with you, and I will take the other 49%.” Grant took to her blog after the show, titling her post, “I was sexually harassed at work.”

Since the days Grant posted in her blog, there have been both supporters and critics. The comedy industry is not void of sexism; many male comedians actually embrace it for material. The most difficult realization to swallow, however, is that any workplace can be rampant with sexual harassment.

According to a study done last year, the most sexually harassing job is being a server in the food industry. Not only is a server susceptible to harassment from patrons, but he or she can get heckled and harassed by owners, managers, etc. 37% of sexual harassment claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were from restaurant servers.

The technology industry also sees continuous sexual harassment complaints; many that go unheard. In an industry that is primarily male driven, female victims of sexual harassment feel unable to speak in case it makes them look weak or the tables are turned against them.

If you feel you have experienced sexual harassment on the job, please contact one of our Aegis attorneys today.

Source: sheknows.com: EEOC

pregnancy discrimination

Housing Non Profit Had “No Pregnancy” Policy

Shamira Johnson was a resource technician for the Houston based home and community services organization, United Bible. Johnson, who had always performed her job well, but was terminated suddenly for revealing she was pregnant.

Johnson and then the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged that the non-profit organization had a “no pregnancy in the workplace” policy. Employees would became pregnant would not be permitted to continue their employment, nor would pregnant applicants be considered.

The organization, caught with such a policy, admitted that it had terminated Johnson on the basis on her pregnancy. It further admitted that Johnson was a good employee who did not have any issues with carrying out her job functions, other than being pregnant. With those admissions, an EEOC judge awarded Johnson $75,000 for back pay and damages. United Bible failed to prove why pregnant women could not sufficiently and safely perform the functions of a resource technician.

In California, pregnant women and their ability to take leave are protected. If you have experienced discrimination based on pregnancy, give our Aegis attorneys a call.

Source: National Law Review

Forever 21 Sued by Transgender Employee

Alexia Daskalakis began working for a Forever 21 store in New York in 2011 as a sales associate…and a man. Three year’s into Alexia’s tenure, she began her physical transition from male to female, and thus the harassment and discrimination began.

Though she had identified as female previously, in January 2014, Alexia began presenting herself in a more traditionally feminine way—wearing makeup, dressing more womanly. At this point in time, Alexia has also been promoted to the role of visual merchandiser and was responsible for setting up window displays.

Alexia had begun taking hormone pills for her physical transition in August 2014. Supervisors and co-workers, male and female alike, immediately began harassing Alexia, subjugating her gender identity. One manager called her a “hot mess” and told her that she looked “offensive,” asserting “in my eyes and the in the company’s eyes, you’re still a male.”

Alexia was sent home from a shift one day for not abiding by male dress code and following the female dress code. The manager who sent her home that day, also told her, “you used to be a hard worker when you were a guy, but not anymore.” Alexia was fired the following January.

The lawsuit alleges that the company discriminated against Alexia based on gender identity, a protected class is becoming more and more indoctrinated into various anti-discrimination laws and labor codes.  Filed last month, this lawsuit comes in the wake of a different lawsuit against Saks Fifth Avenue for similar claims. The Saks suit settled only a few weeks before Alexia’s was filed

Source: Fortune Magazine

Age Discrimination—Statistics Don’t Lie

Different industries have their own signature labor code violations that you often hear about in the news. Tech industries are often accused of gender discrimination and sexism. Food service institutions are routinely served with wage and hour lawsuits. Fashion retailers see sexual harassments claims from both employees and customers. The often forgotten prejudice in labor law, however, is age discrimination.

In California, the law protects employees over the age of 40 from age discrimination. However, high wage earners are not a protected class. Since those over the age of 40 are usually the employees who are most seasoned and therefore paid more, it is easy for a company to label an age fueled termination as a “lay-off” based on finances.

Though baby boomers make up a good portion of the current workforce, median ages in many industries and companies reflect a much younger work force. Is it coincidence? Or are older workers targeted in an unassuming, inconspicuous way? Payscale compiled some interesting statistics based on company and industry about ages and wages.

The median age for a Google employee is 29 years old, with median salary at $107,000. On average, an employee will stay with Google for 1.1 years. Other companies with young employees are Target (28), Office Depot (27), and eBay Inc. (30) with tenures of 2.2 years, 2.0 years, and 1.9 respectively. Only one company surveyed out of the hundreds, reflected a median age of 50—Kodak.

If you feel you have been discriminated against based on age, call an Aegis attorney.

Source: Payscale & Fox Business