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Glendale Legal Blog

Sexual harassment in the broadcasting industry

While allegations about the misconduct of Harvey Weinstein rocked the entertainment industry in California, similar accusations in media and broadcasting have continued throughout the country. It is not the first time the broadcasting industry has come under scrutiny for enabling sexual harassment. Ten years ago, investigations into an executive running Tribune Broadcasting eventually resulted in his resignation.

In that case, employees and former employees reported sexual innuendo and other behaviors that were encouraged by executives. The employee handbook was rewritten to say that such an atmosphere was necessary for creativity. In the current atmosphere and moving forward, broadcasters should review their employee handbooks, guidelines for reporting sexual harassment and training and see where they need to improve.

Discrimination case focuses on sex versus gender identity

The workplace is often a focus for discrimination against transgender individuals. Workplace discrimination remains at the forefront of emerging LGBTQ rights issues in California and across the country. An important aspect of these cases for transgender workers is the legal definition of sex versus gender identity.

Under federal law, only sexual discrimination is protected by statues such as Title VII. This relates to a person's biological sex. It is considered separate from the gender the person may identify as or express. This can cause problems for LGBTQ individuals in the workplace when they file discrimination lawsuits against employers.

Lawsuit accuses Nike of gender discrimination on the job

While many California women are fans of Nike products, the massive sporting goods manufacturer is facing a lawsuit for gender discrimination in the workplace. The plaintiffs accuse the corporation of intentionally discriminating against women on the job in terms of wages, promotions and employment conditions. In addition, they also say that the company tolerated or ignored sexual harassment and assault, fostering a hostile workplace environment for women. Several former female employees filed the suit and are seeking recognition as a class-action case.

The former employees allege that they were passed over for promotion on the basis of gender discrimination. They said that women's performance was judged by harsher standards than those used for men, meaning that fewer women enjoyed perks like bonuses and stock options. They also cited complaints made to the company's human resources department about discrimination and sexual harassment, and they said that HR ignored or dismissed the complaints without thorough investigation.

Study shows that sexual harassment is prevalent in nursing

When the #MeToo movement swept the country, many California residents may have learned just how prevalent sexual harassment is in the entertainment industry. However, the #MeToo movement has also revealed that sexual harassment is prevalent in other industries and workplaces as well. For example, a recent report found that about a quarter of nurses, nurse practitioners and physician's assistants experience sexual harassment.

About 6,200 clinicians across the country were surveyed as part of the study. The results showed that approximately 11 percent of nurses, NPs and PAs reported having experiences of some sort of sexual harassment in the workplace. Additionally, 14 percent also reported seeing sexual harassment. Ultimately, 20 percent of the participants reported that they experienced sexual harassment, witnessed sexual harassment or both.

Few harassment reports does not mean there is not a problem

While it is generally known that workplace harassment, including sexual harassment in the workplace, is illegal, it is still a common experience that many workers have. A 2018 study found that 81 percent of female workers and 43 percent of male workers have experienced some form of workplace sexual harassment at some point in their lives.

Part of the problem is that companies can make it very difficult or even impossible for workers to report incidents of sexual harassment in a safe way. In many cases, workers may fear retaliation in the form of losing their jobs or losing hours. For these companies, the number of reported complaints may be very small as a result. It is important to note, however, that a small number of reports does not mean that workplace sexual harassment or discrimination is not happening.

What do whistleblowers need protection from?

If your employer demonstrates any discriminatory or illegal behavior, it is your right to let it be heard. You and other workers in your company deserve to work in a healthy environment devoid of any abusive or violative behavior.

However, you might be afraid to speak up because you fear possible retaliation from your employer. Even if your intention was to make the workplace better, your employer could unfairly punish you for speaking negatively about them. Many people fear retaliation because it damages your career.

Pregnant employees still discriminated against in the workplace

Employees in California and elsewhere may be interested in learning that women still face pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. In fact, many women find that their careers are halted when they become pregnant.

For example, one 30-year-old woman who was working at a Walmart distribution center in Georgia was told that she needed a doctor's note in order to take a break due to morning sickness. When she obtained a doctor's note saying that she could not do any heavy lifting due to her pregnancy, the supervisor suggested that she consider taking unpaid leave as her pregnancy was a "liability." Another woman, who worked for a large trading company, was told that there was no advancement in the company available due to her age and the fact that she was preparing to have a child.

Los Angeles jury awards $31 million in age discrimination case

If you drive about an hour east of Glendale, you’ll arrive in Ontario. The city is home to a 58-year-old woman who was recently awarded $31 million by a Los Angeles Superior Court jury in an age discrimination lawsuit.

As a jubilant Codie Rael stood outside the courtroom, she said “I never expected this.” She said she hoped that her former employer learned from their mistakes “so they can become the great place to work they once were again.”

Did your employer misclassify your work status?

You've been working for a particular California company as an independent contractor for quite some time. You are happy with your wages and generally satisfied with your work environment, except that you believe you should actually be classified as an employee of the company, not an independent worker. Some people might ask you why you care as long as you have a job and are earning income.

You can tell them that you are definitely not the only one who cares because the Internal Revenue Service takes misclassification of workers quite seriously. There are several factors that help determine whether you're a de facto employee or a freelancer. Understanding the difference and knowing what options are available to help rectify a problem situation can keep the IRS off your back and your employer on the straight and narrow.

Illegal interview questions may lead to employment discrimination

As a woman, you may already feel as if the deck is stacked against you, especially when it comes to employment opportunities. Even if you feel that you have the qualifications and skills necessary to obtain an open position or to receive a promotion, you may feel that your superiors unnecessarily scrutinize your work, or you may feel that you were treated unfairly during the interview process.

It is true that employment discrimination can occur even before getting hired. In some cases, the person conducting the interview may ask you certain questions that you feel do not pertain to the job or have any other connection to the interview. It may interest you to know that some questions are illegal to ask. Still, you may wonder the best way to handle these inquiries in the event that they do come up.

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