When employees feel they have been treated unfairly by their employers, they often face difficult decisions. Although they may truly believe they are being mistreated in a manner that is against the law, they might hesitate to act for fear that nothing will come of the complaint except more negative treatment at work or, worse yet, termination. Often, the worker wants to continue on the job but under proper and legal conditions. However, even when a California employee does take the major step of filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the results are not always as expected.
Human resource departments throughout the country, including in California, are keeping tabs on a recent case in Illinois. In the lawsuit, a large clothing retailer is being sued by employees in Illinois for tracking them by improper means as well as improper collection of personal data. The case is currently waiting to see if it will be certified as a class action.
A report from the leader of the Nursing Mothers Law Project at the University of California, Hastings College of Law revealed the extent of the economic harm caused by employers who discriminate against breastfeeding women. An analysis of legal cases involving women who experienced workplace discrimination because of breastfeeding showed that two-thirds of them lost their jobs.
When employees in California witness or experience inappropriate or discriminatory behavior in the workplace, they may want to take action but be concerned about the potential to face retaliation. In fact, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission noted that retaliation is a common form of discrimination in and of itself. Equal employment laws prohibit workers or even job applicants from being punished or targeted because they complained about discrimination or asserted their rights regarding workplace harassment. Employers that fire workers, cut their hours or deny them raises as a result of raising these issues are violating the law.
A public records request to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has brought to light a gender discrimination complaint against Goldman Sachs Group Inc. A woman who had worked for Goldman Sachs for 15 years alleges that the company fired her for taking a four-month paid leave after the birth of her third child. A company spokesman said that her termination resulted from strategic business decisions. Her case remains in arbitration as she pursues damages of $1.5 million.