Category: Uncategorized

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

Millennials in the Work Force

Who are the Millennials and what do they want? Most sources agree that the Millennial Generation spans the birth years of 1982 to 2004. Some break down those years further and analyze that that within the millennial generation, there is a sub generation called Generation Y, the older side of the millennials. Sometimes, these two named age groups are used synonymously.

Now that definitions are out of the way, what do Millennials want at work? According to Forbes Magazine, by 2025, about 75% of the workforce will be comprised of Millennials as more Baby Boomers and Generation X’s retire out of industry. However, though Millennials will make up the majority of the workforce in the future, currently, that generation is experiencing the highest turnover.

Millennials turn over in positions quickly because of their widely exhibited generational traits. They demand a sense of urgency to the work environment and like immediacy in their role. Once a year reviews do not satisfy Millennials in the workforce, but rather, they want consistent feedback and thorough assessments.

Millennials are no longer willing to work at the grind, like their parents, to make ends meet, but rather expect their compensation to match their opinion of their skills and talents. Once a Millennial is apathetic to their role, it decreases productivity significantly. The Bureau of National Affairs believes an estimated $11 billion dollars are lost per year on low productivity.

So how do employers prevent turnover, and how do Millennial employees ensure they stay in one place?

Employers need to play to this generation’s strengths. For example: acknowledge that the Millennial Generation has a unique set of skills technologically that could benefit the company. At the same time employees from the Millennial Generation need to slow down. In an age of technology and instant gratification, the Millennial’s inability to take time and process situations can be detrimental in the workplace.

A Lawsuit To Remember—Notebook Author Sued for Discrimination

The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, and Dear John.

The plaintiff, former headmaster Saul Hillel Benjamin, alleges that he was forced out of office for attempting to recruit black students and teachers. When Benjamin attempted to increase diversity at the school, Sparks allegedly responded, “diversity should not be measured by percentages of minority students enrolled or minority faculty employed.”

Further, when Benjamin attended an NAACP event to find potential students, Sparks cautioned the headmaster and indicated that he “should utilized less public and visible means if he sought to meet with African-Americans.” Often, Benjamin claims, Sparks and other board officials made bigoted remarks about Jews and homosexuals and attempted to make Benjamin “stop talking about Islam, Judaism, or any other non-Christian religion” at school events since “that’s not what parents like to hear.”

Benjamin also stated that he was accused of “promoting a homosexual culture and agenda” because he supported a club that aimed to help bullied students discuss their sexual identities.

After an incident where Sparks allegedly locked Benjamin in a room and yelled at him, Benjamin resigned from his post because he feared for his safety. The suit names Sparks and three other members of the private school’s board and the Nicholas Sparks Foundation as defendants.

Source: Time Magazine

Paid Out for Retirement

McLean v. State of California (2014), Cal.App.4th, No. C074515, decided on August 19, 2014, that a class action could proceed for waiting time penalties under Labor Code section 203 for the employer’s failure to pay retirees their final wages at the time they retired.  Pursuant to Labor Code section 202, employers have to pay an employee who quits his/her final wages within 72 hours unless 72 hours notice is given.  The court held that an employee who “quits” includes “all employees who quit, whether to retire or for a different reason, and these employees constitute a single group under the statutory scheme.”

Janis McLean was employed by the California Attorney General’s office as a deputy attorney general. Upon her retirement in November 2010, McLean claimed that the state had not compensated all wages due to her at the time of her retirement.

Initially, the State contended McLean’s complaint citing that the Labor Code accounted for those who “quit” versus “retired.” McLean countered, stating that both terms refer to a “voluntary separation from service.” The Court of Appeals upheld that the definition of the Labor Code “are to be liberally construed in favor of the employee.” Therefore, these rights extend to employees who quit or retire.

Purloined Potty Privacy

bathroomThis falls under the heading of “be glad you don’t work here”:  In Chicago, Illinois, a company has started monitoring the time employees spend in the bathroom and disciplining employees it thinks use the restroom too much.

The company requires employees to swipe a card on a card reader when they enter and exit the bathroom, and keeps track of how much time each employee spends in the toilet.  If an employee spends more than 60 minutes in the bathroom in ten working days – or about 6 minutes per day – the employee can be given a disciplinary warning for “excessive use of the bathroom.”  On the other hand, an employee who does not use the restroom at all during a workday can earn a dollar on a gift card, for up to $20 per month.

In California, there would be several problems with a potty policy like this.  California goes a lot further than many states to protect employee privacy.  Keeping a list monitoring all line employees’ bathroom time seems to be a fairly major invasion of the employees’ privacy, and while there are no laws directly addressing this situation, there is a good chance the courts would agree the employer’s policy goes much too far.

Even worse, the potty policy could require employees to give their employers private, medical information.  There are numerous medical and disability-related reasons an employee might not be able to comply with the 6-minute limit or might need more than one or two bathroom breaks in a day, from Crohn’s Disease to medication-related incontinence issues, to nausea from pregnancy or even cancer-related chemotherapy.  Not only would the potty policy discriminate against these people, which would be unlawful, but it also might require them to explain their medical conditions simply to keep their jobs.  Normally, employers are very limited in what kinds of medical information they can ask, but a policy like the one the Chicago company has would basically require employees to volunteer the information.  A California company almost certainly would not be able to get away with such taboo toilet tracking.