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San Francisco Employment Law Blog

Tech startup sued for alleged sexual harassment

A tech startup in San Fransisco fired a female employee, and she's now suing and claiming she was subjected to sexual harassment. The company is called UploadVR, and they hired her to be their Director of Digital and Social Media in May of 2016. By March of 2017, she had been fired.

The woman says that she tried to tell management about the issues in the workplace, but when she spoke up, they simply fired her in retaliation.

Has religious discrimination left your career uncertain?

Religion may play a significant role in your life. You may use your beliefs to guide you through everyday situations and the decisions you must make. Additionally, your religious practices may involve your needing to wear certain attire or participate in certain activities, such as prayer, during specific times of the day. If your religious views differ from many of the individuals around you, you may sometimes fear how those other parties will treat you.

These fears may seem particularly prominent while at your place of employment. However, employers and co-workers should not treat you in a negative manner simply because you have different religious beliefs. Unfortunately, you may feel as if those individuals have subjected you to religious discrimination.

250,000 workers are wrongfully terminated annually

Though specific statistics on wrongful termination can be hard to come by, experts do believe that around 250,000 people are wrongfully and illegally fired year in and year out.

Of course, some of these illegal firings are not reported and some workers may not even realize their rights have been violated. Still, this estimate shows just how widespread and common the problem is, despite all of the laws designed specifically to prevent it.

Can you be fired immediately?

You've been looking for a job for a year. You finally land one after a terrific interview. Your first week on the job is a bit overwhelming, but you figure that things will get better as you get more experience.

Then your boss calls you into the office and tells you that you're being fired. They don't actually think it's a good fit and they're just going to let you go and hire the person who lost out to you initially.

Document everything when facing sexual harassment

Experts note that sexual harassment cases can be very tough. If you simply claim you were harassed and the other party says that you're lying, without any evidence or proof, it can be hard to prove you were wronged -- even when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you were.

The key is to make sure you have evidence and records when you make the claim. Document everything. Jot down complete notes. If you can, legally get other documentation, such as pictures, videos and statements from witnesses. Make your documentation as thorough as you can.

What rights do pregnant employees have in California?

Companies are notoriously hesitant to hire employees who are – or who are likely to become – pregnant.

Although they won’t admit it, some businesses fear that it will cost them too much money to pay for maternity leave and pregnancy-related health care costs. Other businesses worry about investing time in training an employee who may soon choose to quit the workforce altogether to raise her children.

Workplace sexual orientation discrimination in CA: 3 protections

As noted in an earlier post, the Supreme Court of the United States will likely be asked to review whether or not Title VII (also known as the Civil Rights Act) provides protection against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation at the federal level. The fact that these protections are not always a given may cause some concern within the workplace. It is important to note that this single law is not the only form of protection available to workers. Additional protections, especially in California, are available.

Disability discrimination can happen without a disability

Technically speaking, you don't have to be disabled to suffer from disability discrimination.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has very strict regulations regarding disability discrimination, as a way to protect workers. They note that treating an employee or a potential employee less favorably due to a disability is illegal. However, it's also illegal to do this because of a person's disability history or just because the employer thinks that the person has a mental or physical impairment, even if it doesn't exist.

Does title VII protect workers from sexual orientation discrimination?

In 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) found bans on same-sex marriage at the state level unconstitutional. Our country's highest court stated that the Fourteenth Amendment requires states both allow and recognize same-sex marriages. These same justices that two years earlier struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act held that states must recognize same-sex marriages. But what does this mean in the real world? What does this mean for couples that can now openly marry the ones they love? Although their marriages are recognized, will they be protected from retaliation by employers?

It may seem like the holding in Obergefell v. Hodges would come along with protections. Unfortunately, such an interpretation is not automatic.

Questions may abound if you're fired after turning 50

You've been with the same company for more than two decades. Then, just a few weeks after you turn 50, they fire you. Suddenly, the career that you assumed you'd have until you decided to retire is gone.

Was it a legitimate firing, for legal reasons, or were you simply fired because of your age? Did they think you just did not fit in with the rest of the workforce, if everyone else was younger? Are they legally allowed to do that? These are just a few of the questions you may have after everything comes crashing down.